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Libracor

[PG-13] [FANFIC] Yu-Gi-Oh STARs

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This is a Fanfic revival of an RP I tried about a year ago. I figured I could have some fun withit and even feature some original cards I don't often get to share.

 

This ruleset uses MR3 and is set before Links in an au where Pendulum is just as commonplace as other ED types. The main character uses pendulum, but it's not a major focus of the story.

 

Let me know what y'all think?

 

[spoiler=Chapter 1]

Chapter 1: Turn, Cogs of Destiny!

 

Countless footsteps eagerly trampled the cracking concrete floor as Ocean City West High School let out for the summer. All across the city, thousands of young eyes looked ahead toward the excitement of the coming days, as the Sun shone down upon them from above, offering its encouragement to the Duelists of the Future.

Out in the courtyard, several groups of students had gathered in circles to trade cards, discuss their plans for the summer, and most importantly to plan ahead to the annual Ocean City Summer Tournament. Only a month away now, each of these students had a shot at proving their worth to the whole city and earning an invite to the Oceania Regional the next Autumn. Chatter could be heard from one end of the yard across to the other, mangling the conversations of their neighbors on the air. Inevitably, as all things must be, the boisterous atmosphere became the conductor for numerous challenges to duel, and it is here that destiny began for Yuda Hirose.

He brushed his moppy black hair away from his eye as he rifled through his cards, one by one examining the individual uses of each monster, spell and trap as he formulated possible strategies. He had come up short in the Junior Youth Regionals before, but this year he was a Freshman, and a new Circuit meant a new start for him. He was determined to make it to the finals this year.

“So I told the guy that he couldn’t pay me enough for a rematch!” From Yuda’s peripheral vision, he could see a familiar sight: Marc Kim surrounded by his friends. He was always loud, and always picking fights, something that Yuda never cared for, although he did recognize the upperclassman’s skills in a duel.

Yuda stood up, loaded his deck into his Matte Black Duel Disk, fully expecting what came next. “Hirose, come over here. I need target practice!” Yuda obliged, always ready for a duel.

He stepped up to face Marc and ignited his Disk, generating a beam of Purple Solid Vision, and shouted “Sure, I have some new cards to test!”

The crowd around them parted as Marc ignited the Red Tray on his White Disk. The decks were shuffled, both players drew five cards, and the duel was on. 

 

DUEL

Marc Kim: 4000 5 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 5 cards

 

Kim called to his opponent, “Challenger goes first today, Hirose!” He looked at his hand for a moment before deciding on a move. Even if he was a bit rude at times, Hirose knew better than to let his guard down, and Kim had beaten him more than once before. It only took Kim a moment to play his first card. “I summon Steelheart the Iron Soldier in attack mode!” As Marc Kim slapped the card onto the field, a heavily-armored axe wielding warrior emerged in a flash of holographic light. (EARTH Warrior Level 3 1200/0) “When I Normal Summon Steelheart, he lets me Axe one card in your Hand!” The heavy knight tossed his Axe like a tomahawk, striking one of the cards in Yuda’s hand. The card began to glow red, indicating that it must be discarded, and Yuda complied.

“I’ll leave two nasties Facedown and turn it over to you.” Two giant cards appeared, Facedown, behind Steelheart.

 

DUEL

Marc Kim: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 5 cards

 

Yuda drew his card wordlessly as he formulated his plan. Having one of his monsters in the grave was less than ideal under most circumstances, but perhaps he could stall for long enough to draw the card he needed. “I set one card face down, then I’ll set the Pendulum Scales using Scale 2 Clockwork Wyvern and Scale 6 Clockwork Pixie!” To the left of Yuda, a small, armless dragon with silver filigree wings and exposed restless gears arose in a pillar of pale blue light, and to his right, a tiny fairy in a slim dress and lugging around a comically oversized wand of turning gears and winding springs emerged in a similar pillar. Once the two were in place, a gigantic golden pocket watch appeared in the skies above them, perfectly still save for a loud tick-tock.

“Next,” he continued, “I’ll Pendulum Summon!” The watch began to swing between the two mechanical monsters, drawing an arc of light across the sky, “Turn, Wheel of fate! Bridge the distance between Time and Space and show me the wheels of Destiny: Pendulum Summon! Come forth, Level 5 Clockwork Golem!” In its widest arc, the light that the watch created illuminated the field, and a spinning portal appeared, launching out a massive automaton of spinning gears and jerky pistons, hammers for hands with a turnkey on its back. (EARTH Machine Level 5 Scale 2/2 1800/1200) “When Golem is Special Summoned, once per turn I can destroy one Spell or Trap on the Field-”

“Not so fast, kiddo! My Bottomless Trap Hole will make quick work of your Golem!” Just as the creature hit the ground, it opened up to swallow it. It held out its hand as it fell, reaching for the surface as the opening closed, Banishing the monster from the duel.

“Nice play, but you should know he still hit the field, so his effect still goes off! Destroy Clockwork Pixie!” Marc looked on in shock as the hands of the pendulum watch wound backward, returning the golem to the Field, only for it to turn around and level its fist at the Pixie. The small Fairy cowered and tried to shield itself as the Golem’s arm launched from a series of springs and annihilated it. Without both Pendulum Scales, the pocket watch faded away into the air. When that was done, time returned to normal for the holograms and the giant disappeared again. 

“Why would you do that? Marc demanded.

Yuda held out his hand as a card ejected itself from his Deck. “Because when Clockwork Pixie is destroyed, I can add a Clockwork or Pendulum monster to my Hand, and I choose Clockwork Retainer! And since it’s still my turn, I’ll activate a Spell card: Mystical Space Typhoon, will destroy your other Facedown!” A magical tornado of wailing winds descended upon his facedown, only for it to activate in response.

“And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we bluff. I activate Reckless Greed, I draw two cards, but skip two Draw Phases in return.” Marc’s Duel Disk ejected two cards, and then closed the Deck Slot off with the display of “LOCK - 2”.

Yuda shrugged in indifference. Without a strong starting hand, he had been forced to improvise, and now his survival rested on protecting Clockwork Wyvern this next turn. “Turn End.”

 

DUEL

Marc Kim: 4000 4 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 1 card

 

“When I only have one card on the Field, I can Special Summon Coldheart the Iron Soldier from my Hand.” In a flash, Steelheart silently welcomed his compatriot, in nearly identical armor he wielded a pair of shortswords. (EARTH Level 5 Warrior Tuner 2200/1100). “Now let’s see how you handle a Synchro Summon! I tune the Level 5 Coldheart to the Level 3 Steelheart!” Coldheart disappeared into five green rings of light that aligned around Steelheart, who transformed into three white spheres as he passed through. “Soldier of Freezing Iron, join with the Soldier of indomitable will and prove to your enemies the value of fear: Synchro Summon! Come forth, Level 8: Lionheart the Iron Soldier!” A pillar of blinding light surged through the rings, and when it subsided a gigantic knight emerged, hefting over his shoulder a broad-bladed sword longer than he was. (EARTH Warrior Synchro Level 8 2700/1400)

Marc pointed to his opponent. “Attack directly!” The massive blade sailed through the air with an unnatural speed, crashing into Yuda’s crossed arms with incredible force, pushing him back on the gravel. “Guess it’s a good thing I keep my hardness setting low,” he thought to himself. “On the bright side, I have no idea what I would have done had he not called my bluff.”

“When Lionheart deals damage, I get to destroy a card you control, and I choose your Wyvern!”

“Dammit, I activate Clockwork Halt! This trap lets me negate one Monster effect this turn.” As the Soldier’s blade closed in on the wyvern, the sound of a ticking watch reverberated, and the monster ground to a halt. A Pocket watch appeared before it, and its hands wound backwards, returning it to its ready position.

“Tch, desperate move, but I don’t think you wanna take a second hit like that one. I’ll set two Facedowns and end.”

 

DUEL

Marc Kim: 4000 1 card

Yuda Hirose: 1300 2 card

 

Yuda drew another card and immediately placed a card onto the Disk “My 

Scale 7 Clockwork Retainer will complete the Pendulum Scale!” An old, run-down looking android with stiff movements and rusting parts appeared in a beam of light, and the pocket watch that had disappeared with Pixie returned to the field.

“Hold up, I activate my Facedown, Twin Twister! I’ll destroy those scales of yours right now, by discarding Loneheart the Iron Soldier.” A fierce funnel cloud tore across the battlefield, sucking up not only Clockwork Wyvern, but Retainer and their pocket watch as well, leaving Yuda’s Field completely barren. 

Yuda scowled. He knew that with no cards and no way to draw them, Kim would be a sitting duck if he could manage to get rid of Lionheart, but with his field and hand empty, he would need to get extremely lucky with his next move. “I Activate the effect of Clockwork Pixie in my Extra Deck! By shuffling her, and any other Clockwork monsters with her or in my grave back into my main Deck, I can draw one card for each other monster I shuffle. From my Extra Deck, I shuffle Pixie, Retainer, and Wyvern. From my Graveyard, I shuffle Clockwork Wizard.” The named cards ejected Themselves from Yuda’s disk, and he quickly placed them in his Deck Slot. “Now I draw three cards.”

Yuda  once again set the cards in his Pendulum Zones. “Using the Scale 2 Clockwork Justicar and the Scale 7 Clockwork Retainer, I set the Pendulum Scale!” In pillars of blue light, first appeared the dilapidated Retainer, followed by a regal and well-maintained Suit of armor, standing professionally at attention and holding a commanding staff topped with a watch face. The pocket watch appeared, and once again began to swing in a brightly flashing arc. “When I control no Clockwork monsters, Retainer has a Pendulum Scale of eight.” The monster’s eyes lit up gold with a newfound determination as the swinging watch hit its apex.

“Turn, Wheel of fate! Bridge the distance between Time and Space and show me how the wheels of Time refuse to waver: Pendulum Summon! Come forth, Level 7: Clockwork Wizard!” In that brilliant flash of light, there emerged a man dressed in a tight gold shirt and pants adorned with the silvery metal of mystical gears connected by a swirling pattern of steel filigree. Surrounding him were small bundles of connected gears, all moving in perfectly coordinated symphony, and in his hand, he held a tall staff topped with a spinning display of gears. (EARTH Machine Level 7 2/2 2500/2000).

Yuda waved his hand, and Justicar held up its staff, as if ready to pass judgement and punishment upon the accused. “Once per turn, when I perform a Pendulum summon, I must Banish 1 monster on the Field with Justicar’s effect. I choose Lionheart the Iron Soldier!”

“I activate the Trap Card, Iron Soldier’s Feint. With it, I can return an Iron Soldier to the Hand and Special Summon two from the Grave with their effects negated.” The massive Soldier jumped backward to avoid the Justicar’s swing.

“Once per turn, Clockwork Wizard can negate the effect of a card, so your trap is as good as useless and your monster is Banished!” Clockwork Wizard waved his staff and the clusters of gears around him began to turn faster; the trap card fizzled out in a shower of sparks and disappeared, and the Justicar’s staff finished its swing, vacuuming Lionheart through a swirling portal and off of the Field.

Kim activated his second facedown “I had a second Reckless Greed. I didn’t wanna use it, but if I have no choice, I have no choice.” He drew two more cards and allowed his disk to lock the Deck again, “LOCK-2.”

“I can still attack, so go, Clockwork Wizard!” The wizard aimed his staff like a rifle and launched a ball of brass-colored energy at Kim, knocking him back with the force of 2500 points of damage. “It’s your turn.”

DUEL

Marc Kim: 1500 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 1300 0 cards

 

Kim took a long look at his hand and scowled. He through his hands up into the air and shouted his frustration. When he was done, he laid his hand on top of his Deck Slot and conceded the duel. “There were only seven cards left in my deck that could have bricked me, take a wild guess what I drew.” He extended his hand to Yuda, and waited for his opponent to come to him to accept the gesture. Yuda shook his hand as a sign of respect, and said a few words. “The odds of drawing two of any seven cards with thirty-three left in the deck are astronomical.”

“I know, less than four percent, but it happens. It was a good duel though, is that Justicar new?”

Yuda pulled out the card to show his classmate “Yes, I just got it the other day, but haven’t had a chance to use it.”

“Are you entering the Summer Tourney? I know I am!”

Yuda put his card back into his Duel Disk. “I’m planning on it, but I need seven more points on record this year, I’ve been too busy with school to go to competitions, and there’s only two more before the deadline.”

“Sounds like you need to get your butt in gear then. I’ll root for you, so make sure you make it to the Championship.”

“I’ll try, Kim.”

 

Next Time: Yuda gets involved in a Junior Varsity round-robin tournament, and his first opponent may just be his last, can Yuda handle a dueling prodigy?

 

Come back for Chapter 2: Enter, the Trap Master! Yuda vs Garth

 

 

 

 

[spoiler=Chapter 2]

Chapter 2: Enter, The Trap Master! Yuda vs Garth

 

It had been only two days since Yuda dueled Marc Kim, and he felt no closer to being ready for that day’s challenge. As a member of West High’s Junior Varsity team, he was required to participate in a three-round tourney against the other three Schools in Ocean City. On the upside, each win was worth a point, and there were three up for grabs today. He needed seven more to qualify for the Summer Regional. He would have to duel perfectly.

He sat on the bleachers, staring at his deck, hoping that the adjustments he had made after his duel with Kim would have been enough to help his bricking problem. 

His phone buzzed, an alarm on the screen. Twenty minutes to showtime, and his first opponent would be from South High, he could only hope it wasn’t anyone experienced. Three victories here would be his ticket in, but he would still need to win four more official matches to advance.

First things first, he needed to keep his mind on the battlefield.

“Hey, are you gonna have yourself ready by game time, we don’t have a substitute for you, you know.” The voice came from a tall blonde woman with her long hair in a ponytail wearing a red sweatshirt and grey cargo pants. She looked like she was more ready to play rugby or run a mile than to duel.

“Yeah, I’ll be on the field in five minutes, mom.”

She leaned down next to him and blew the whistle around her neck right into his ear, knocking Yuda over. “It’s pronounced ‘Coach’, now get your ass in gear!”

“Yes, coach!” Yuda shot up, shaken from his worries and jogged onto the field where the other four JV duelists were waiting for the teams from North, East, and South High. He settled in next to his friend Midori, “What’s up, flower child?”

Midori stood there, twirling her emerald hair in her hand, which Yuda recognized as her nervous tic. She didn’t turn to face him, but she did speak. “Just a few more minutes to go, I heard Garth MacLaine is on South High’s JV team this year, that’s gonna be bad news for whoever ends up dueling him.”

Yuda shrugged. “With your luck, it’s gonna wind up being me.”

The two shared a quick nervous laugh and returned to standing in uneasy silence as the other three teams filed in one at a time. The four coaches and two referees took a moment to introduce the teams to the audience. Yuda noted that half the stadium seats were filled, mostly with family members of the participants, which made sense, it wasn’t a big stadium and most certainly not a major event. 

Yuda knew from playing in the interscholastic league this last year that each round would be Academy vs Academy, working down the list, so that each of the five members on each team would only duel one player from the other three. He kept himself locked in his own thoughts until he heard his name come up: “Lane four: Hirose Yuda versus Garth MacLaine!”

“Crap,” Yuda muttered as he took to his assigned lane.

There he was, the illustrious Garth. His hair was bright red and slicked up into the biggest animesque cowlick Yuda had ever seen. He was standing with his chest out and his red and yellow school jacket open over a black tee. He was, of course, the first to speak. “So it’s you then, some nobody I’ve never heard of before? Tell me, how many championships have you won?”

Yuda didn’t let it get to him. Trash talk was tradition in these things, it wouldn’t be poor sportsmanship to brag a little before a duel. “I won a Little League when I was eight,” he joked.

Garth laughed, “Then you may be impressed to know that I was reigning champion of the regional Junior Youth division for all three years of middle school!” He loaded his deck and activated the Neon pink blade of his Metallic Golden Duel Disk. “So don’t make me go easy on you!”

Yuda Activated his Matte Black Disk, summoning a Purple beam of Solid Vision. “I don’t care about your record, right now there’s only one duel that matters.”

“Oho? Then show me what East High can do, little man!”

“Duel!”

 

DUEL

Yuda Hirose: 4000 5 cards

Garth MacLaine: 4000 5 cards

 

Yuda’s Display indicated that he would take the second turn, and he refused to waste it. Regardless of Garth’s illustrious history, Yuda needed to beat him, and that meant he would need to play heavily offensive. He looked at his hand and formulated a plan while he waited for his opponent to decide on a move.

“Uh hello? I said it’s your turn!”

Yuda looked up from his hand to see that Garth’s was completely empty, and on his field were 5 Facedowns. “Oh no, this cannot be good for me.”

“It’s not, I assure you, now play.” Garth yelled out, his excitement almost contagious.

Yuda drew, and immediately took two cards from his hand and announced his play. “Using my Scale 6 Clockwork Maiden and my Scale 7 Clockwork Retainer, I set the Pendulum Scales!” The familiar junky automaton appeared, joined by a young woman with long brown hair brandishing a tarnished metal sword whose crossguard and handguard consisted of a gearlike design.

“Scale six and seven, huh? You won’t summon anything that way! I activate the continuous Trap Card Hidden Magristrate! With it, you have to discard a Card, and then it gets special summoned as a monster!” Yuda discarded his second copy of Maiden, and watched as a dark-skinned man wearing regal robes and holding a thick book that read “LAW” rose from the ground, glaring with his yellow eyes at the young Duelist. (FIRE Spellcaster Level 3 1200/1200)

“Okay, no biggie. I’ll just-”

“And in response to the Special Summoning of Hidden Magistrate, I activate the Continuous Trap card Imperial Custom, allowing other Traps I control to be immune to destruction.” A card flipped up, depicting an ancient ruler explaining a law to his vassal.

Yuda stood in silence for a moment before asking “You done yet?”

Garth smiled, “For now.”

“While I possess no Clockwork monsters, Retainer has a Pendulum Scale of 8!” As before, the mechanical mess’ eyes lit up golden as its scale increased, seemingly determined to summon its allies.

The Pocket Watch in the air began to swing, “Turn, Wheel of fate! Bridge the distance between Time and Space and show me the wheels of Destiny: Pendulum Summon! Here we go, Level seven: Clockwork Wizard and Clockwork Wyvern!” The two familiar mechanical creatures took the stage as an arc of light sailed overhead, but it was no sooner than had they been summoned that Garth responded. “I’m afraid my Torrential Tribute will have none of your Pendulum Shenanigans today!” A wave of water erupted from the fourth facedown and the Clockwork monsters were swept away, but Imperial Custom’s effect protected the other Trap/Monsters from their destruction.

“But first, in response to the resolution of my card effect, I activate Trap Surgeon, with this I can Special Summon a Continuous Trap I have active as a monster!” The ruler of Imperial custom emerged from the card art, and yawned, holding up his decree with a passive smile. (FIRE Fiend Level 2 0/0)

“And then, Trap Surgeon Special Summons himself!” A white-haired man in a stained lab-coat emerged from the card, eyes obscured by highly mechanical goggles and brandishing a scalpel and a knife. (FIRE Psychic Level 2 300/300)

With his Pendulum Summon for the turn used up and his field empty, Yuda was quickly running out of options. “I discard Clockwork Justicar to Special Summon Clockwork Wizard from my Extra Deck.” Once more, the mechanical magician took to the field, brandishing his odd assortment of floating gears and cogs.

“I activate a Continuous Trap card!”

Yuda threw his arms up, “Of course you do, which is it now?”

“Oh just something I like to call Spell-Eyes Trap Dragon! First it negates the effects of all Special Summoned monsters you control for the remainder of this turn, and since Clockwork Wizard technically hasn’t finished summoning yet, its negation effect can’t activate!” Indeed, just as Garth said, the wizard’s orbs stopped moving entirely, and the Wizard was bound in a magical circle of ancient letters. “Then it gets Special Summoned, baby!” A great dragon with teal eyes and magenta scales emerged from the ground, stood up on its hind legs and roared into the sky. (FIRE Dragon Level 8 3000/2500)

“And you just know there’s more in store when I draw my next card!”

Yuda was growing tired of this Trap nonsense.He wanted to end this, quickly. But his hand was empty, and his opponent was very well defended. He had no choice but to pass the turn, but first, he could at least deal some damage. “You left your Imperial Custom in attack position, which means I can destroy it, go, Clockwork Wizard!” The Wizard lunged forward and slashed at the Emperor with his staff, ending the royal decree and dealing a hefty 2500 points in damage to Garth. “Your turn.”

 

DUEL

Yuda Hirose: 4000 0 cards

Garth MacLaine: 1500 1 card

 

“This is what I get for not testing my new build…” Garth drew his card with gusto and immediately set it. “Now, I will enter the Battle Phase, Spell-Eyes Trap Dragon, crush his Wizard!” The Dragon obliged, spewing multicolored magical flames over the battlefield until nothing remained of the Wizard, with the remaining 500 point difference coming out of Yuda’s Life Points. The attack was quickly followed up by attacks from the other two monsters, an additional 300. And then 1200 damage. “Turn End.”

 

DUEL

Yuda Hirose: 2000 1 card

Garth MacLaine: 1500 0 cards

 

Yuda drew his card, unsure of how to compete. Garth’s monsters had the glaring weakness of being susceptible to any form of removal, but that Facedown had him worried. “Let’s leave this up to the Hand of Fate then! I activate Clockwork Advance, with this Spell Card, I send 1 Clockwork Pendulum Monster from my Deck to my Extra Deck, in exchange for giving up my Normal Summon this turn. I send Clockwork Pixie.” The tiny fairy made the trip between Decks and Yuda pulled out a card from his Graveyard. “Next, with the power of the second Clockwork Maiden in my Grave, I can destroy two Pendulum card in my scales to add her to my Hand!” The Maiden and the Machine both Shattered as the Second Maiden, this one with auburn hair, returned to Yuda’s Hand.

“Finally, I activate the effect of Clockwork Pixie: by shuffling her into the Deck, I can do the same to as many other Extra Deck Clockwork monsters as I want and draw one for each! I return Wyvern, Wizard, Retainer, and Maiden to the Deck, and draw four cards!”

With his setup complete, Yuda activated his final spell “Twin Twisters will destroy your Facedown!” The funnel cloud descended, and wiped away a hidden Solemn Judgement. Yuda silently thanked his lucky stars that he thought to get rid of it. With the field clear of any obstacles, it was time to finish the battle.

“With my Scale 2 Clockwork Wizard and Scale 6 Clockwork Maiden, I set the Pendulum Scale!” The two guardians rose together inside pillars of light as the pocket watch appeared and began to swing anew. “Turn, Wheel of fate! Bridge the distance between Time and Space and show me how the wheels of Destiny never stop: Pendulum Summon! Here we go, Level 5 Clockwork Golem!” The Mechanical Giant rose from the Swirling Vortex once more, and leveled its rocket fist at Spell-Eyes. “You should know, whenever Golem is Special Summoned, he destroys a Spell or Trap, and that includes your Dragon!” Its mighty fist sailed through the air, destroying the beast in a massive explosion. After the dust cleared, the Golem quickly closed the distance with Trap Surgeon, and crushed its measly 300 ATK under its die-cast boot.

 

DUEL

Yuda Hirose: 2000 1 card

Garth MacLaine: 0 0 cards

 

VICTORY Yuda Hirose

 

As the holograms went away, Yuda approached his fallen opponent and offered him a hand up. Garth took it gladly, quickly wiping the disappointment from his face. He pulled Yuda in close and said to him “Nobody beats me that easily.”

Yuda responded seriously, “Well it wasn’t easy.”

The two stared at each other for a moment, but eventually Garth began to laugh out loud “This means you’re my rival from now on, so you had better qualify for the championships.” He turned his back to Yuda and walked off to prepare for round two. “Wouldn’t do at all for my rival to lose before I get my shot at a rematch.”

As Garth walked away, Midori approached Yuda, “Uhh… did the two of you know each other?”

Yuda shook his head. “You know, I think he fancies himself a Shonen protagonist.”

“That sounds like it could be annoying.”

“I dunno, I think I like having a rival.” Yuda looked out to the other duels, some of which were still wrapping up. “Who’s next?”

 

Next Time: Yuda’s second duel is against West High’s Xyz prodigy. Does he have what it takes to measure up against her Ocean of high-ranked assassins?

 

Come back for Chapter 3: Force of the Falling Butterfly! Yuda vs Delphine

 

 

 

 

[spoiler=Chapter 3]

Chapter 3: Force of the Falling Butterfly! Yuda vs Delphine

 

With round one out of the way, Yuda returned to center court where the referees were waiting. Once all of the first round duels were up, they began to list off names for round two. Yuda waited patiently to hear his name, “Lane four: Hirose Yuda versus Delphine Marchand.”

He took to the field, met by a girl with short aqua hair, wearing a black dress shirt and pants, and even sporting a white tie. “Good afternoon, Yuda” she said politely.

“Uh, hello.” Yuda activated his duel disk, too nervous about his points to worry about socializing. His opponent responded in kind, activating her teal Duel Disk with a deep blue tray.

“I suppose we should get started, mon amie. But you should know I do not lose.” Delphine drew her starting hand and gave Yuda a playful wink.

Yuda drew his five cards. “That’s what they all say.”

“Duel!”

 

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 4000 5 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 5 cards

 

“I’ll have the first turn!” Yuda carefully looked over his hand. He had the right scales for an early Pendulum Summon, but no traps. Defending himself with monsters only would be difficult, but he hoped not impossible. He set two cards onto his tray. “With my scale 2 Clockwork Wizard and scale 6 Clockwork Pixie, I set the Pendulum Scale!” The mechanically dressed wizard and the tiny, inept fairy rose into the sky, surrounded by the pale blue light as the pocket watch appeared in the sky just as it had before, and just as it had before it began to swing. “Turn, Wheel of fate! Bridge the distance between Time and Space and show me the wheels of Destiny: Pendulum Summon! Come out, Level 5 Clockwork Golem, and Level 3 Clockwork Mechanist!” The massive golem rose up out of the portal (EARTH Machine Level 5 Scale 2/2 1800/1200), joined by a new companion: a short, wheeled robot with a cylindrical body and a number of tarnished metal arms. (EARTH Machine Level 3 Scale 6/6 1200/900)

The golem leveled its fist at the fairy who, once again, cowered vainly in an attempt to escape the imminent fist. “When I Special Summon Golem, I have to destroy a Spell or Trap, even if I have the only ones on the field.” The mechanical arm launched, pulverizing the fairy and causing the pocket watch to fade away again. “Next, since Pixie was destroyed while it was in the Pendulum scale, I can add Clockwork Sniper to my hand.” He drew a card from his deck, and played a different one from his hand. “I’ll recomplete the Pendulum Scale with the Scale 6 Clockwork Maiden.” In the left pillar, the  auburn-haired swordswoman rose up, keeping her clockwork blade at her side. The pocket watch reappeared once more, perfectly still as it ticked. “Finally, I Tribute my Golem to Tribute Summon Clockwork Sniper.” The Golem vanished into a portal of light, and in its place emerged a slim figure wrapped in bandages and scarves, holding a long brass-colored rifle made of exposed, highly complex clockwork machinery.  (EARTH Machine Level 5 Scale 2/2 2000/1600) “It’s your turn.”

 

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 4000 6 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 1 card

 

Delphine drew her card and smiled. “Impressive, mon amie, but anyone can luck out with a pendulum deck, show me you know how to use it properly. I activate the Continuous Spell: Wingrays - Retreat.” On the field, the holographic image of a spell depicting several Manta Ray-like creatures swimming into the background appeared. “With this, I can discard a card once per turn to add a Wingrays from my Deck to my Hand. I discard Wingrays - Ghost Gill and add Wingrays - Guilty Gill to my hand.” The duelist discarded her card and took the card that her Duel Disk ejected for her. “Next, since you have more monsters than me, I can Normal Summon this card without a Tribute: Wingrays - Twin Manta.” A portal appeared on the floor, and from it swam out a curious dark blue ray with four flippers and two tails and mouths. On its forehead it had a red sigil, a stylized, almost tribal representation of the shape of a manta. (WATER Sea-Serpent Level 6 900/700).

Yuda made a mental note to keep an eye on it’s attack value. “Not much of a fighter, is it?” He asked.

“Oh, but it’s not his strength you need to worry about, Wingrays school together. I discard Wingrays - Guilty Gill to Special Summon from my Graveyard Wingrays - Ghost Gill.” A translucent blue manta swam out onto the field, bearing the same sigil on its forehead as the Twin Manta before it. (WATER Sea-Serpent Level 6 0/0) “And when he is special summoned, I can Special Summon any wingrays from my Deck. I choose Wingrays - Mantra Manta.” One more blue ray appeared, this time it looked mostly normal, but its tail was glowing a sickening green. (WATER Sea-Serpent Level 6 1500/1500)

The blue duelist held up her hand as her three monsters transformed into beams of azure light, and flew up into a vortex in the sky. “Using my level 6 Ghost Gill, Twin Manta, and Mantra Manta I construct the overlay network.” The vortex began to glow and expand, and a large beam of light shot back out onto the field. “Denizens of the Deep, though apart you are weak, together you form the rage of the mighty seas: Xyz Summon! Come forth, Rank 6 Wingrays - Rising Butterfly!” The beam of light transformed into a massive Manta ray, dark blue on top and black on the bottom, with colorful pastel patterns on each of its flippers. Around its body, three orbs of blue light orbited slowly. (WATER Sea-Serpent Xyz OLU 3 Rank 6 1000/1000) 

“Furthermore, I activate the Spell Card Pot of Population. With this, I can destroy as many Face up cards as I control, and draw one card for each, and I choose to destroy Rising Butterfly.” A massive red jar depicting an ugly, greedy face enclosed the manta and began to crack. “And when a Wingrays I control is about to be destroyed, Rising Butterfly can detach an overlay unit to negate that destruction.” 

Yuda watched as the Pot was destroyed and one of the orbs surrounding the Manta vanished into its body. “But why bother? If Rising Butterfly isn’t destroyed, you can’t draw a card.”

Delphine held up her finger. “Tsk tsk, never assume your opponent has no plan. When I negate the destruction of a Wingrays with Butterfly’s effect, I can increase its ATK by 1000, and destroy one card you control.” The massive ray’s eyes flashed red as it charged straight into the Wizard, demolishing him entirely. “Now I enter the Battle Phase: Rising Butterfly, attack that Sniper!.”

Yuda waved his hand in front of him, “When a Clockwork monster I control battles, Mechanist can increase its ATK by 1200, in exchange for neither player taking damage from the battle.” The small, multi-armed droid took a moment to polish and oil the sniper, who immediately raised its gun and fired at the charging ray with 3200 points of power.

“And yet, I can detach a second overly unit to protect my monster from destruction again, raising its attack value again and destroying your Clockwork Maiden!” The ray consumed the second of the three orbs and fired a beam of light at the swordmaiden, destroying her. “Now, I set two cards and end my turn.”

Yuda scowled. “At the end of the battle phase, Mechanist’s effect wears off.” He noted that the Ray’s attack remained boosted.

 

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 4000 0 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 2 cards

 

As the holographic Facedowns entered play, Yuda drew his card. He was in a bind. The next time he wanted to destroy that monster, it would shoot its ATK up to four-thousand, and not to mention those facedowns were bad news. He would need a plan, and quickly.

Delphine flipped up one of her Facedown cards. “I activate Jar of Distribution. With this, as long as you have cards in hand and I do not, you must discard one card, and I must draw one.”

Yuda scowled, but nonetheless discarded. “Now I activate the effect of Clockwork Halt, that trap you made me discard. By discarding one Clockwork Pendulum card, I can set it to the field.” Yuda discarded his last remaining card. “Clockwork Sniper will attack Wingrays - Rising Butterfly, and I activate the effect of Clockwork Mechanist, raising his ATK to thirty-two hundred!”

The ray consumed its last overlay unit, negating its destruction and increasing ats ATK to four-thousand.

“I end my turn.”

 

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 0 cards

 

“It is time to end this, but it was fun while it lasted. I activate my other Facedown card, Wingrays - Regroup. Since I have an Xyz monster with no overlay units left, I can add Rank-Down-Magic: Fade Force to my hand.”

“Rank-Down?” Yuda exclaimed.

Delphine winked playfully again. “Rising Butterfly will attack sniper!” The massive beast lunged for the machine soldier with bloodlust in its eyes.

“I activate the effect of Clockwork Halt, negating the effect of one monster on the Field, and that means your Butterfly’s attack returns to normal.” The colors of the manta began to fade away, and the sniper fired his gun, the bullet connecting with but not destroying its target.

“My apologies, mon amie, but since you activated an effect while my Wingrays Xyz monster was battling, I can activate the quick-play spell, Rank-Down-Magic: Fade Force in my hand.” Her monster began to glow brightly blue as it launched itself into another swirling vortex. “Striking Beauty of the Deep, surrender yourself to the power of the Sea, and emerge anew: Rank-Down Xyz Change! Descend: Rank 5 Wingrays - Fading Butterfly.” A much larger ray appeared in place of the other, almost identical, but it appeared to be partially translucent, and constantly fading in and out of visible sight. (WATER Sea-Serpent Xyz OLU 1 Rank 5 1000/1000) 

“Now my Fading Butterfly will attack your Machinist!” The large manta lunged toward the small droid, opening its mouth to swallow the robot.

“When a Clockwork monster battles, Clockwork Machinist can increase its ATK by twelve-hundred and negate the battle damage!” The small machine began to polish itself and tighten its screws. When it was done, it flexed its mechanical appendages comically.

Delhpine winked again “Apologies, but when you activate a card effect, Fading Butterfly can consume one overlay unit to negate it, and drain its attack and defense values too!” The monstrous serpent began to solidify until it was completely visible, and the mechanical helper faded until it was almost gone, only for the giant ray to swallow it whole, and then batter Yuda with its stolen attack points. “I set two cards and end my turn.”

 

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 4000 0 cards

Yuda Hirose: 2100 1 card

 

Yuda drew his card, and didn’t like what he saw. His only option left, once again, was luck. “I activate the effect of Clockwork Pixie in my Extra Deck. I shuffle her, as well as Maiden and Machinist into my Deck, and draw two cards.” Yuda took two cards from his deck and assessed the situation. Wizard was in his Extra Deck, but without Retainer he had no method of summoning it. Golem was also in his Extra Deck, which meant that as long as he could set the Scales, he would have a chance. “Using my Scale 2 Clockwork Wyvern and Scale 6 Clockwork Maiden, I set the Pendulum Scale!” Once more, the dragon and the blonde maiden rose up in pillars of pale blue light, and the great pocket watch appeared, swinging. “I activate the Pendulum Effect of Wyvern: I destroy a Pendulum Monster I control to add the Clockwork Heart that I discarded earlier to my Hand. I destroy sniper.” The wyvern blew a corroding, rust-colored clout at the sniper, causing it to crumble away as a card in Yuda’s Grave was ejected into his hand.

Delphine smiled, “So you do know what you’re doing after all, then give me your best!”

Yuda pointed his hand into the air. “Turn, Wheel of fate! Bridge the distance between Time and Space and show me the wheels of Destiny: Pendulum Summon! Level 5 Clockwork GolemClockwork Sniper and Clockwork Heart!” The familiar giant (EARTH Machine Level 5 Scale 2/2 1800/1200) and sniper  (EARTH Machine Level 5 Scale 2/2 2000/2600) rallied to the field, followed by a small, mostly featureless doll with an exposed core of springs and cogs in the shape of a classical heart (EARTH Machine Level 5 Scale 1/1 1500/500). “When Golem is Special Summoned, he destroys one Spell or Trap, I chose your Facedown on the left!” The mighty machine launched its fist, and crushed a hidden Mirror Force.

“Battle Phase, Clockwork Sniper will attack Fading Butterfly!” The mechanical sniper took aim and fired. One clean hit pierced the monster, and grazed Delphine for a measly one-hundred damage.

“No, no, no, it can’t be that easy for you. I activate the quick-play Spell, Rank-Down-Magic: Falling Force! When an Xyz monster with no overlay units that I control would be destroyed as a result of battle, I can instead perform another Rank-Down!” Instead of being destroyed, the monster transformed yet again into the beam of light and flew away into the Overlay Network. “Master of raging seas, as your servants struggle, descend now to aid them: Rank-Down Xyz Change! Descend: Rank 4 Wingrays - Empress Butterfly!”

When the beam of light returned to the field, it returned in the form of a small, elegant ray with a black/blue body and patterns of gold along the edges of where the two colors met. (WATER Sea-Serpent Xyz OLU 1 Rank 4 3000/3000)

“Wanna be like that, fine. I’ll end the Battle Phase right now, but just so you know, it’s more than the Face-Up cards in my Extra Deck that you’d better worry about.” Yuda pointed his hand into the sky once more and the three Clockwork creatures transformed into beams of orange light that flew away into a spinning vortex. “You’re not the only one who uses Xyz, Delphine. With my Level 5 Golem, Sniper, and Heart, I construct the Overlay Network!” 

“There’s no time to wait, this duel has gone on long enough. Rise now, and move the hand of fate: Xyz Summon! Come forth: Rank 5 Clockwork Knight!” The Orange light descended onto the field, forming into a mighty warrior, a knight in clockwork armor holding a broad sword with spinning cogs in its crossguard. The knight roared in anticipation as it hit the field, surrounded by three orbs of orange light. (EARTH Machine Xyz OLU 3 Rank 5 2400/2400)

Delphine shouted “It’s over! Empress Butterfly’s effect: When you Special Summon an Xyz monster, I can detach one overlay unit to Banish that monster and add Wingrays - Follow Ray to my hand!”

Yuda looked on in shock as his ace in the hole was struck by the small ray, and slowly faded away, leaving its floating orbs to dissipate. “No way…” With his Field and Hand completely empty, Yuda had no choice but to end his turn.

 

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 3900 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 2100 0 card

 

Delphine drew her card, but didn’t bother reading it; the duel was already over. “Empress Butterfly will attack directly!” The elegant ray launched a stream of water at Yuda, knocking him into the air and onto his back as the last of his Life Points drained away.

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 0 0 cards

 

Victory Delphine Marchand

 

Yuda picked himself off the ground and dusted off his jeans. His opponent wasted no time in crossing the lane to offer him a handshake. “You did very well, maybe we can have a rematch some time?”

Yuda shook her hand gladly. “Yeah, I had fun.”

His opponent winked at him, and turned away to await her next duel.

Yuda sighed. One more point he wasn’t going to get meant that he would half to play that much better in the next round.

 

Next Time: While Yuda duels in his final match, Midori struggles against her own opponent. With two wins under her belt, can she handle what comes next?

 

Come back for Chapter 4: The Synthetic Duel! Midori vs Dexter

 

 

 

 

[spoiler=Chapter 4]

Chapter 4: The Synthetic Duel! Midori vs Dexter

 

There was a short intermission before the third round of duels. It was tradition to offer the students an opportunity to socialize. Midori sat on the bleacher with a bottle of water, taking small nervous sips. Her eyes drifted intermittently across the field, not looking for anything in particular, as she waited impatiently for the game to begin. She spied Yuda in the distance, talking excitedly with Garth, and then that blue-haired girl dressed like a talk-show host.

She took another nervous sip, mindlessly toying with her hair. She knew it was only a game, but she wished she had one of her friends here to reassure her, even Yuda, for as quiet as he was. It wasn’t long before Midori was approached by a duelist wearing the yellow uniform of North High underneath a lab coat. His hair was black, short and flat, and he wore thick round glasses that distorted the size of his eyes.

The boy held out his hand. “I’m Dexter Rats, p-p-pleased t-to make your acquaintance.”

She shook his hand, recognizing the nervousness in his stuttering. He was trying to make friends, to fit in just like her. “Kobayashi Midori.”

The two awkwardly shook their hands for what felt like way too long before Dexter noticed and pulled his away. “S-sorry. I’m l-learning how to t-t-talk to people.”

Midori chuckled. “It’s okay, I’m not so good at it either.”

The two sat in silence next to each other, just nervously sipping water and waiting for the intermission to end, glad for charming awkwardness of a stranger’s company. After a few minutes, the buzzer sounded, and round three was underway. The two of them stood at attention, awaiting their final matchups. Midori heard Yuda’s name come up, a duel against someone named Stella Burner. “Definitely a fire deck.” She thought.

“In lane five, Kobayashi Midori vs Dexter Rats.”

“Well what are the odds of that?” Midori rushed to her lane and activated her duel disk, a shining pink disk decorated with stylized flower decals, with a bright yellow tray.

“Well the odds of it are five-to-one, of course but it occurs to me you may have been joking.” Her opponent pushed his comically oversized glasses back up onto his nose. She thought for a moment he might have been trying to look cool until they began sliding back down and she realized they just weren’t a very good fit. “At any rate, or ratio as it were, let’s duel.” He activated his duel disk, a simple base-model black disk with a blue tray.

“Duel!”

 

DUEL

Midori Kobayashi: 4000 5 cards

Dexter Rats: 4000 5 cards

 

“I-I’ll start, I activate the Spell card Converting Catalyst. With it, I can discard Cataloturge - Blue Base to Special Summon Cataloturge - Red Base from my Deck.” A large bottle with thin arms and legs, filled with a thick red liquid entered the field, constantly tipping over and having to correct itself. (FIRE Aqua Level 1 300/300) Next I’ll activate the Spell card Efficient Fusion! With this, I can summon two different Fusion monsters for the price of one, as long as bother m-monsters can make use of th-the same materials. I send from my hand Cataloturge - Yellow Mineral and Cataloturge - Red Base from my field.” Dexter clasped his hands together as the two creatures swirled together into a vortex, distorting and merging with each other. “Th-the material basics have all sorts of c-c-combinations. Fusion Summon! L-let’s go Level 5 Cataloturge - Orange Product, and Level 6 Swamp Children!” Before the two appeared two creatures, the first was a glowing, orange mass of gelatin, partially see-through and constantly wobbling (LIGHT Aqua Level 5 Fusion 2000/2000) and the other was a swampy puddle from which hands and faces regularly emerged and let out angry moans. (WATER Aqua Level 6 Fusion 1500/1500)

“Next, with the effect of Swamp Children, I can add one “Fusion” card to my hand, but can’t use it this turn. I add Efficient Fusion. I’ll set one card face-down and turn it over to you.”

Midori was off put somewhat by his demeanor. He was constantly shifting between confidence and stuttering, and she couldn’t put her finger on what he was doing. Nonetheless, she drew.

 

DUEL

Midori Kobayashi: 4000 6 cards

Dexter Rats: 4000 1 card

 

Midori looked at her hand and examined the field. That Swamp monster was no threat since its ability only activated on summoning, but that slime had a trick up its proverbial sleeve, she could tell. “I normal summon Peristarmament Clover Cleaver.” A portal appeared, and from it stepped out a young woman in plate armor adorned with clovers. (WIND Plant Level 1 Union 300/300). “Now, since I have a Peristarmement on the field, I can equip Peristarmement Cattail Bow and Peristarmement Ivy Saw directly from my hand to my Clover Cleaver.” The woman in clover gladly accepted as two weapons appeared before her: a bow made of bark and ivy with a quiver of cattail arrows, and a circular saw with a handle of wood attached to a long cord of ivy. “Next I’ll activate Will of the Peristylium! This continuous spell allows me to search my Deck for a Perist- monster whenever a Perist- Union monster is sent to the graveyard. Now we battle. Clover Cleaver will attack Orange Product! And Clover Cleaver gets three-hundred more attack points from both of her weapons.”

The green woman fired an arrow from her Cattail Bow and slung it back over her shoulder, and then immediately swung the Ivy Saw until it broke off from the cord, spinning toward Dexter’s field. “I activate my Trap Card A Mysterious Smell. When a Cataloturge monster battles, it gains seven-hundred attack points, and I draw a card for every monster destroyed by battle with it.” The orange creature was struck by both the saw and the arrow, and both sank into its body to be dissolved.

Midori took the damage from her own attack, but clover remained on the field. “When a monster equipped with a Peristarmament union monster would be destroyed, I must destroy all of its Peristarmament equipment instead.” The bow and its quiver, as well as the ivy that was attached to the circular saw, shattered into pieces.

“What was the p-p-point in that?” Dexter asked.

“When a monster equipped with Cattail Bow attacks, you discard a card. And when a monster equipped with Ivy Saw attacks, I destroy one Spell or trap on the field at the end of the damage step, and I chose A Mysterious Smell.” An image of the spinning saw returned to the field, slicing the holographic card to pieces, just as a cattail arrow struck the fusion spell in Dexter’s hand, forcing him to discard. Immediately afterward, Midori’s spell began to glow. “Since two Peristarmament cards were sent to the grave, I can add Rose Whip and Daisy Dirk from my deck to my hand.” The mentioned cards ejected from her duel disk, and Midori reexamined her hand.

“I equip my Clover Cleaver with four cards in my hand: Peristarmament Rose WhipPeristarmament Daisy DirkPeristarmament Trumpet Shackle and Peristarmament Petunia Shield.” Clover equipped the four weapons, hanging the tightly wound red rose whip at her side, storing a small yellow dirk in her boot, wearing a green shield with a white petunia relief on her arm and holding a scythe on a chain made of yellow trumpet flowers in her hand.

“Your move.”

 

DUEL

Midori Kobayashi: 2200 0 cards

Dexter Rats: 4000 1 card

 

“S-so you have a collection of f-flowers, I have something impressive too. I activate the Spell card Danger Draw. By destroying two cards I control, I can draw one. And wouldn’t you know it, when Orange Product is destroyed by a card effect, I can add two Cataloturge monsters from my Deck to my hand, and I choose Bunsen Hydrogen and Magnetic Acid.” As the only cards on Dexter’s field vanished, he drew his card and his deck ejected his searches. “Since you have more cards than me, I can Special Summon Cataloturge - Magnetic Acid.” A small blob of steaming, corrosive goo landed on the field. (EARTH Aqua Level 3 1000/1000) “When I Special Summon a Cataloturge from my hand, I can Special Summon Cataloturge - Red Mineral. And While we’re at it, I’ll n-n-normal summon Cataloturge - Busen Hydrogen.” A lump of some red powder in a beaker (FIRE Rock Level 2 500/500) and a walking bunsen burner attached to a blue tank (Wind Pyro Tuner Level 1 0/0) emerged onto the field.

“When I Normal Summon  Bunsen Hydrogen, I can summon from my deck a second copy of any monster I control with its effects negated, I choose Red Mineral.” A second beaker filled with red dust entered the battlefield. The bunsen burner released the nozzle on its hydrogen tank and began to fire its flames before transforming into a green Synchro ring.

“Elements of the Earth, gather what you c-c-can and add a little heat; that’s the b-basis of synthesis: Synchro Summon! R-rise up, Level 8 Denadorite Dragon!” A massive western dragon appeared from the blinding light of Synchro, scales like shining slate, and it roarded furiously. (EARTH Dragon Level 8 Synchro 2200/2200) “Denadorite Dragon gets to attack once for each non-tuner m-m-material that was used to summon it. I used th-three. Go, attack that C-c-clover!” The massive dragon lunged for the stoic girl, who smiled confidently as she readied her weapons.

“The attack of a monster equipped with four Peristarmaments is raised by twelve-hundred, and the effect of Daisy Dirk reduces your dragon’s attack strength by three-hundred. And Rose Whip negates its effects until the end of the damage step!” Clover threw the knife, cutting into the stone scales of the dragon. Then she wrapped its jaw with the rose whip. Finally she raised the Petunia Shield to protect herself.

Dexter raised his glasses onto the bridge of his nose again. “But Denadorite Dragon’s effect doesn’t matter during the damage step, so that doesn’t matter. It can still attack again after this!” The massive beast slapped Clover away with its tail, causing the four weapons to shatter completely.

“The effect of Petunia Shield negates the damage I take, and the effect of Daisy Dirk lasts until the end of the battle phase, and so do the attack boosts that clover received earlier.”

“But Denadorite Dragon still has higher attack points, so it can still crush you!”

The massive dragon stepped on Clover, annihilating her completely, and creating a shockwave worth four-hundred points. “Since you’ve destroyed five Peristarmaments this turn, I can add Peristarmament Daisy DirkPeristarmament Orchid JavelinPeristarmament Clover CleaverPeristarmament Sphagnum Bomb, and Peristylium Angel to my hand.”

“Your t-t-turn.”

 

DUEL

Midori Kobayashi: 1800 6 cards

Dexter Rats: 4000 0 cards

 

Midori drew her card, and without hesitation played her first monster. “I Normal Summon Peristylium Angel!” A thin young man with rose petals for hiss feathered wings and long white hair descended onto the field, empty-handed and shining with a warm rosy light. (WIND Fairy Level 3 1500/1500) “Next I’ll equip him with the four Peristarmement cards in my hand, raising his attack power to three thousand!” The angel slung the Orchid Javelin across his back, placed the Daisy Dagger on his belt right next to the hand-grenade, Sphagnum Bomb. Finally, He hefted a massive two-handed sword wreathed in clover over his shoulder.

“Finally, I activate the Field Spell Peristarmory!” The immediate area surrounding the two became wrapped in solid vision, as a grand garden erupted from the ground. A babbling brook crossed the field between the two, small paths of natural stone over wet gravel adorned the floor, and everywhere there were flowers growing. “This place always brings me peace. When activated, I can add Rose Whip from my Deck to my Hand, and I’ll equip it immediately.” 

Midori finally took her hand away from her hair, filled with determination. “This is where it ends! Peristylium Angel will attack Denadorite Dragon!” The angel lunged forward with its cleaver, prepared to cut the dragon in two.

“When Denadorite Dragon is attacked, I can Banish a tuner in my graveyard to negate it!” Dexter called out.

“When a monster equipped with rose whip battles, it can negate the effect of a monster until the end of the damage step.” The angel swung its whip and wrapped the jaw of the beast shut. “When a monster equipped with Daisy Dirk battles, its target loses three-hundred attack points.” The angel thrust its dagger into the beast, forcing it to the ground before slicing at it with the Clover blade. “When a monster equipped with Sphagnum Bomb destroys a monster, I can deal damage equal to half the original attack of that monster.” The angel tossed the grenade and turned away, so as not to watch the explosion as it launched Dexter into the sky.

Dexter landed in a soft shrub as Midori continued to explain. “And finally, when a Perist- monster battles while Peristarmory is active, you take damage equal to the difference in its current and original attack values.”

Dexter only had time to say “uh-oh” before one of the large trees growing in the garden fell on top of him, wiping away the last of his Life Points.

 

DUEL

Midori Kobayashi: 1800 0 cards

Dexter Rats: 0 0 cards

 

Victory Midori Kobayashi

 

As the solid vision field vanished, Dexter stood up, dusted off his lab coat, and straightened his glasses. “Why didn;t it appear?” He said to himself.

“What was that?” Midori asked him.

“My father, before he disappeared, was researching STARs. I found his notes.” He explained. “I thought if I could put myself in a tight spot, I could get one to appear.”

Midori laughed. “There hasn’t been a STAR reported in over thirty years. I think most people consider them a myth nowadays.”

Dexter turned away and began to walk back to the center court. “Maybe, but I’d like to think we’re going to see one very soon.”

 

Next Time: Yuda has won his second point. With only five official matches left to win, he decides to enter the Kingston Corporation Open. But his opponent may just push him to the brink, and with his invitation riding on the line, will he do whatever it takes to win?

 

Come back for Chapter 5: Descend, mighty STAR! Yuda vs Drake

 

 

 

 

[spoiler=Chapter 5]

Chapter 5: Descend, Mighty STAR! Yuda vs Drake

 

Deep in the recesses of a stone room, illuminated only by intermittent torchlight, three figures stood. They gathered around a stone table etched with carvings and inscriptions of ancient magic in a language lost to the ravages of time. The first figure spoke to the group. “Do you truly think he’s the one?”

The figure to his left shook her head. “I know the master seems to think so, but I haven’t seen his STAR yet. What about that Midori girl?”

From the main corridor, a tall man wearing a blank silver mask entered the room. “No, she possesses potential, but she is not the one.”

The three figures knelt to the ground in respect. The first one to speak answered back. “I trust your word, Master. I just find it difficult to see the potential with my own eyes.”

The masked man stood perfectly still, completely unmoving as if he hadn’t even the need to breathe. Finally he spoke. “Go then, you will meet him in battle.”

The figure stood up and crossed his right arm over his chest. “I understand, am I to draw out his STAR?”

The masked man spoke, “Yes, and if he fails to produce it, kill Yuda Hirose.”

 

Yuda was up late, the moon was high in the sky and full on a clear night, shining down on him as he sat on the balcony of his father’s apartment. All he could think about were the coming duels, the five points he needed to join the Summer Tournament, and the unshakeable feeling that something terrible was about to begin. The glass door slid open behind him, and a wheelchair-bound Yuji Hirose passed through. “It’s late, son. What are you doing out here?”

Yuda hardly looked over his shoulder. “Just thinking.”

“You mean dwelling.”

He didn’t deny his father’s words. Instead he merely stared off into the night. “I can’t shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen soon.”

Yuji sipped his tea cheerfully. “Have you tried taking your mind off things? I know, we can play Monopoly!” His futile attempts at getting his son’s attention were met with silence. He set his tea down on a glass tabletop. “Look, I know things haven’t been great for you, but look at the progress you’ve made!”

Yuda turned around to face his father, sitting in his wheelchair without a care in the world. “I have one friend, and Midori’s a bigger wreck than me.” He joked.

“I was watching your duels today you know. I saw you smiling.”

“Yeah, well I like adrenaline.”

Yuji picked up his tea again. “I know that’s not it Yuda. I won’t pry, but I wish you would open up more.” He wheeled himself through the glass door and back into the apartment, leaving Yuda alone again to his thoughts.

“Yeah well, maybe I don’t feel like opening up.” He whispered to himself. “Maybe I feel like going for a walk.”

He didn’t bother saying anything to his father, he simply took his Duel Disk and left to wander the streets at night, accompanied only by his anxiety and the streetlamps.

Before long, he was sitting in his usual place, Pier twenty-two, with his legs dangling over the edge. The smell of the sea and the salt in the air kept him company, but he was not alone.

A blond man wearing a black coat approached Yuda from behind. “Well now, what a surprise this is. I was under the impression that we would be meeting in the tournament, but here you are. How convenient.”

Yuda jumped up to face him. “Who are you?”

“My name is Drake, and unfortunately for you, I believe you have something I want.” He activated his duel disk, a gray, circular design etched with ancient runes. “And unfortunately you have nowhere to run.”

Before Yuda could even process what was happening, his Duel Disk flared to life on its own, the screen displaying “CONTROLS LOCKED - FORCE DUEL”

“What the Hell?”

“This is the moment we separate the men from the boys, Yuda Hirose! Duel!”

 

DUEL

Drake: 4000 5 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 5 cards

 

“I’ll be making the first move, child. First, I activate the field spell Dragon Ravine!” The pier vanished, and in its place rose a sun-bleached canyon. “Now I’ll discard Arkbrave Dragon in my hand to senf Divine Dragon Lord Felgrand from my Deck to my Graveyard!”

Yuda scowled, he’d played against this type of deck before, and it was exceptionally powerful.

“Now, I activate the effect of Ruins of the Divine Dragon Lords!” A massive statue dedicated to the visage of an ancient golden dragon rose from the ground before Drake. “I will set a facedown and end my turn.”

“Fine, I draw!”

 

DUEL

Drake: 4000 1 card

Yuda Hirose: 4000 6 cards

 

No sooner than had Yuda drawn his card, his opponent activated an effect. “Since Arkbrave Dragon was sent to the Graveyard last turn, I can Special Summon Divine Dragon Lord Felgrand in attack position from my Graveyard!” Before Yuda rose a massive golden dragon, radiating a menacing aura of violence. (LIGHT Dragon Level 7 2800/2800)

Yuda wasted no time in making his move. “I discard my Clockwork Maiden so that Twin Twisters can destroy both your Facedown and your Ruins!” The twisters descended to the field, ripping up chunks of stone from the solid vision canyon. As it did, Drake revealed his trap, “Oasis of Dragon Souls brings Arkbrave Dragon back from the dead.” The white and silver dragon rose from the ground, bound to the continuous trap, but was destroyed immediately afterward by Twin Twisters, alongside the ancient statue.

“Why would you bother, there’s nothing in your grave for Arkbrave to summon!”

“True, but now there’s no risk of you destroying my Felgrand. You must already know that its effect can Banish any monster on your Field every time it gets revived. You’re too smart to destroy it.”

Yua weighed his options carefully. Felgrand can Banish monsters in the graveyard as well, so he would have to avoid using it as much as possible. Unfortunately, Maiden was already there. “With my Scale 6 Clockwork Pixie and my Scale 2 Clockwork Wizard, I set the Pendulum Scale!” The familiar magician and fairy rose up in their pillars of light and called forth the pocket watch. “Next, with the effect of Clockwork Maiden in my graveyard, I can destroy both of my Pendulum Scales to add her to my hand!” The brunette swordswoman rose from the ground and lifted her sword. The clockwork in her blade began to turn and the pocket watch shattered, destroying both of the monsters in the scales and allowing her to return from the grave.

“When Clockwork Pixie is destroyed while it’s a spell card, I get to add Clockwork Retainer to my hand!” The mentioned card slid out of Yuda’s deck and into his open palm. “Now with my Scale 6 Clockwork Maiden and my Scale 2 Clockwork Wyvern, I set the Pendulum Scale again! And then I normal summon Clockwork Retainer.” The two monsters rose into the sky and the pocket watch appeared above him once more, quickly joined by the broken-down rusted robot (EARTH Machine Level 2 7/7 0/900). “Now, the effect of Clockwork Wyvern, by destroying the Clockwork Retainer on my field, I can add Clockwork Maiden from my deck to my hand.” The wyvern spewed its corrosive mist onto the dilapidated robot, and Yuda drew a card from his deck. “When Retainer is destroyed while it’s a monster, I add the third Clockwork Maiden to my hand!” Yuda drew yet another card.

“And finally, when a Clockwork monster is destroyed, I can Special Summon the Clockwork Maiden in my Pendulum Zone, and replace it with the card that was destroyed.” The Maiden descended from his pillar, giving a playful slap on the shoulder to the machine that took her place. (EARTH Level 3 6/6 1500/1000) 

The pocket watch began to swing, signalling the beginning of a Pendulum Summon. “Turn, Wheel of fate! Bridge the distance between Time and Space and show me the wheels of Destiny: Pendulum Summon! Come forth, Level 3 Clockwork Maidens, and Level 7 Clockwork Wizard!” The two remaining maidens, blond and red hair rushed through the portal to join their sister, and the magician took the stage with his mighty collection of magical gears. (EARTH Machine Level 7 2/2 2500/2000)

The three maidens crossed their swords together and transformed into beams of orange light, flying eagerly into a swirling vortex. “Sisters-in-arms, the gears of fate have brought you together, now call out the one who watches the sands of Time: Xyz Summon! Reise, Rank 3 Clockwork Watchman!” From the swirling portal descended a young man wearing the turning gears and cogs of clockwork, holding a tarnished brass watch and a large hourglass, which was filled with sand, and three orbs of orange light. (EARTH Machine Xyz OLU 3 Rank 3 0/0) “Watchman gains six-hundred attack points for each moverlay unit he has, and that makes twenty-four hundred!”

Drake, who had up to this point been waiting patiently through his opponent’s turn spoke up. “Even if you can summon a monster with an effect like that, it’s still weaker than Felgrand. And it took you every card in your hand save one. This duel is over.”

Yuda shouted him down. “With its effect, I can Banish the Arkbrave dragon in your Graveyard! Then I set one card and end my turn.” The Magical hourglass expended one of its orbs, and Arkbrave was removed from its grave.

“I draw!”

 

DUEL

Drake: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 0 cards

 

I activate the effect of Dragon Ravine. By discarding Brother Dragon, I can send a second one from my Deck to the Grave, and why stop there? I activate the effect of Return of the Divine Dragon Lords. Since Brother Dragon is Level 8, I can Special Summon it. And its ability also Special Summons any copies of it currently in my Graveyard, so say hello to the two brothers!” From the Graveyard rose two deep red and deeply scarred dragons. (FIRE Dragon Level 8 2500/2500) “And now, I’ll construct the overlay network!” The Brother Dragons transformed into red light, and Felgrand into yellow, and they swirled away into the overlay network. “War-torn brothers from the deepest caverns, Lord of all the dragons of Heaven and Earth, open the gate, and bring the Cosmos itself crashing down upon the unworthy: Xyz Summon! Come forth, Rank 8, STARs X Dawnshatter Dragon!” A massive winged dragon with pitch black scales and an aura like blazing fire descended onto the field, surrounding it were three orbs, two red and one yellow, and above its head was a star-shaped crown, glowing white and floating just above it. (LIGHT/DARK Dragon Xyz OLU 3 Rank 8 3000/3000)

“I now detach one overlay unit, allowing me to send another copy of Arkbrave Dragon to the grave!” 

The dragon swallowed the yellow orb, and Drake’s disk ejected his chosen beast to the graveyard. Yuda waited for the right opportunity to use Wizard’s effect. If he wasted it early, he was as good as done.

“When Dawnshatter Dragon sends a dragon to the grave this way, it can attack directly!”

Clockwork Wizard negates your effect!” Yuda interrupted.

“Apologies, child, but Dawnshatter is only affected by the abilities of STARs monsters”

“What?!”

The massive dragon fired its burning breath at Yuda, launching him several yards away into the side of the cliff. The impact felt to him entirely too real. Even for three-thousand points, it shouldn’t hurt this much. He stood up, and began to cough, trying to regain his composure. “Wh-what the Hell…?”

“Did you know that a man in peak physical condition can survive the trauma of about twenty-thousand points before blacking out? I upped the hardness settings on our disks by five. You just took fifteen-thousand points worth of force from a single hit. I wouldn’t be surprised if your clockwork heart simply gave out right here.”

Silence fell, Yuda drew his card, and then he spoke.

 

DUEL

Drake: 4000 0 cards

Yuda Hirose: 1000 1 card

 

“Why are you doing this?” He choked through his laboured breaths.

“To push you, I want you to bring out your STAR. And you will, unless you want to fail again.” The man taunted.

“What? How do you-”

“Know about that? My Master knows a lot about you. About the day your father lost his legs-”

“Shut up…”

“The day you tried to step in to save him-”

“Shut up.”

“It was after you got out of the hospital that your parents divorced. Your father lost his job as an officer, then his wife, all because you couldn’t save him.”

“SHUT UP!” Yuda screamed his frustration through his bitter tears. “What gives you the right to talk about that?”

“If you hate me, if you want to see me laid low, then bring out the only thing that can defeat me! Call forth your STAR!”

“I don’t have a-”

The world went black, everything disappeared except for Yuda, and from the skies above, a great shining light descended. He held out his hand instinctively and caught it, a small ball of light, no bigger than his thumb, radiating a calming warmth. He wiped the tears from his eyes, and the world around him returned to view.

Yuda spoke. “With the power of Clockwork Wyvern, I can destroy it to add Clockwork Justicar to my hand.” The dragon began to leak its corrosive gas, and shattered, causing the pocket watch to fade away. “Next, I discard Clockwork Justicar to Special Summon Clockwork Wyvern from my Extra Deck, and I Normal summon Clockwork Star!” A small, star-shaped frame appeared, and within was exposed to view a space filled with clockwork. (EARTH Machine Level 3 0/0) alongside the classic corroded dragon.“Now with the effect of Star, I can make one Xyz monster I control have a level equal to the level of one other monster I control, in exchange for half my Life Points. Now, I can construct the Overlay Network!” The Watchman, Wyvern and the Wizard transformed into rays of orange light and ascended into the vortex once more. “Magician from the far future, watcher of times long past, the time has come to summon a new power: a Shining STAR!” Yuda summoned the STAR in his hand, and it transformed into a card. “Xyz Summon! Come forth, Rank 7 STARs X Time-Eyes Clockwork Dragon!” As the shining light faded away, Yuda’s field was dominated by a single dragon, brass in color with eyes like gold. If one looked closely, they would see a dimension of turning cogs and flowing sand hidden within those eyes. Above its head, the dragon wore a crown identical to the one worn by Dawnshatter Dragon. (EARTH Dragon Xyz Rank 7 OLU 6 3000/2500) “Now, Time-Eyes will attack Felgrand!” The great dragons began to fire their breath attacks at each other. “When Time-Eyes Clockwork Dragon attacks, I can Negate and Banish the other monster, then you can Special summon one of your other Banished monsters with its effects negated!” Time-Eyes consumed one of its orbs, and a swirling portal appeared behind Felgrand, sucking it into the abyss and replacing it with Arkbrave. “Next, I’ll attack Dawnshatter Dragon, and use another overlay unit to Banish it as well!” Yet again, the mighty monster was banished, leaving only a negated felgrand and Arkbrave.

Drake smiled. “I know how satisfying it will be for you to take me down, but unfortunately I’d rather not die today.” The holograms disappeared as the duel disk registered his surrender. “Take care of that STAR for me, child, until it’s time to return it to its rightful owner.”

Yuda howled after him, but could barely move a muscle. “Wait! Explain yourself!” But it was too late, the man was gone. Yuda stared at the card he had, the text on it read “*X Time-Eyes Clockwork Dragon”. He knelt there on the ground, unable to move for a few moments before the card began to glow, and Yuda heard a voice, “Find the strength to move forward, and move, like the hands of time.” Beside him was a vision of the Dragon, holding its wing over him.

“Well now I have more problems. Great.”

 

Next Time: Yuda recovers from his injury as Midori and Delphine investigate the history of STARs. Meanwhile, a new player enters the stage.

 

Come back for Chapter 6: The STARs Hunter! Protect Yuda!

 

 

 

 

[spoiler=Chapter 6]

Chapter 6: The STARs Hunter! Protect Yuda!

 

The visitor’s room was quiet and almost empty. The only inhabitants, besides the clerk, were Midori and her father. Kenta Kobayashi was speaking to the clerk in full uniform. “I won’t be more than a few minutes, I just need a statement.”

“I understand Officer Kobayashi, your daughter will have to check in for visitation though.”

Officer Kobayashi nodded and stepped through the door toward Yuda’s room, leaving his daughter to wait alone, mindlessly twirling her hair. After a moment of hesitation, she stepped up to the counter to give her name and information. She sat back down on the bench, trying to imagine what trouble Yuda could have gotten himself into when the front door opened to two familiar faces. Delphine, in her talk-show host white suit, followed closely by the familiar red pompadour of Garth. “Where’s Yuda? I demand an explanation!” He shouted.

The clerk looked up, and Delphine went ahead of him to speak with her. “I’m very sorry, he’s just a little shaken up.”

As Delphine handled the paperwork, Midori struck up a conversation. “Garth? What are you doing here?”

The boisterous duelist responded somewhat seriously. “News travels fast about these sorts of things. When I heard Yuda’d been attacked I started asking around.”

Midori twirled her hair violently. “What did you find out?”

“Not much. There were a couple of witnesses that I got to before the police did. Apparently Yuda was attacked by some guy in a black coat, and the hardness of their solid vision was way up.”

“It’s hard to believe that Yuda lost.”

Garth shook his head. “That’s just the thing: he didn’t.”

“What?”

“Witnesses say that Yuda summoned a dragon, and then the guy just surrendered. Yuda never landed a hit, and yet the guy walked away.”

Delphine entered the conversation. “Garth already told me what he knows. Midori, your father is an officer, what have you learned?”

“Not a thing,” she bemoaned. “It’s police business, he can’t go blabbing to anyone he wants, not even me. Yuda’s ok to visit, but not until Dad gets what he needs.”

The three sat together in silence for a long while, waiting for the interview to end. Garth stood up first and yelled. “I hate waiting! This sucks, Yuda! You’re supposed to be my rival!”

Delphine giggled cheerily. “At least we can count on him not changing.”

“I get why Garth is here… sort of. But why are you here?”

Delphine winked at Midori. “What can I say, Yuda fascinates me. I saw Garth looking around and I decided I simply must get myself involved.”

The door opened, and Officer Kobayashi stepped back into the waiting room. “You two are Yuda’s friends too?”

They nodded. “I need you to tell me something, what have you heard about STARs?”

Garth and Delphine looked to each other, utterly confused. Garth spoke first. “Don’t they represent levels?”

Delphine followed. “Do you understand the meaning of ‘tact’?”

But Midori was the only one to answer. “That boy I dueled yesterday, Dexter. He said something about STARs.” Her father waited for her to offer anything more. “Those are those really rare cards right?”

“Listen Midori, all of you actually. STARs are one-of-a-kind cards. They’re mysterious and were never well-understood. The only thing we do know is that they attract danger. I believe Yuda is being targeted by a group trying to take his STAR from him. I’m only telling you this so that you understand the danger.”

“I understand, dad. I’ll look after Yuda-”

“No! You musn’t get involved. If you see anyone acting suspicious, call the police.”

Garth interrupted the conversation. “Hey, we’re pretty much professionals you know!”

“Yuda defeated you. And now he’s recovering from life-threatening trauma. Stay out of this fight.”

The three kids lowered their gazes. Midori answered. “I understand, go on to the station, I want to visit with Yuda before I head home.”

Officer Kobayashi turned for the door. “Just call a cab please, I don’t want you on the streets right now.”

As soon as he was out the door, Midori and Garth began to strategize. “I’ll learn what I can from Yuda. Garth, can you keep looking around for clues?”

“Right, I’ll call when I find something. STARs haven’t been around for thirty years so someone’s bound to’ve noticed.”

Delphine raised her hand. “Uh, guys? Didn’t we just promise not to get involved?”

Garth ran his fingers through his hair and winked at Delphine. “You really need to learn the definition of ‘tact’.”

“Garth’s right, what my father doesn’t know won’t hurt him. If you’re gonna help, you can either search for clues with Garth or talk to Yuda with me.”

The bluenette thought for a moment. “I don’t have a lot to offer here, I’ll stay with Yuda.”

Garth was nearly outside in an instant. “Wish me luck.”

“Good luck.”

 

The room Yuda was staying in was bland and dark. After his debriefing with Officer Kobayashi, he was finding it difficult to rest. His door opened again, and the nurse came in with Delphine and Midori in tow. “Mister Hirose, you have visitors.”

The two of them were over his bedside in a matter of seconds, Midori being the first to speak. “Yuda, spill everything!”

Oui, we’re investigators now!”

Yuda reached over for his deck and pulled out a single card. Holding it seemed to replenish his strength slightly. He handed the card to Midori. “When I was dueling Drake, that card fell from the sky.”

“What are these here? Asterisk X?” Delphine inquired.

“You read it as STARs X. It’s a STAR.”

Midori read the text up and down, but aside from being a powerful Xyz monster, she could see nothing special. “Why would someone want to take this from you?”

Yuda shook his head. “He was pushing me, trying to draw it out of me. As soon as I got it on the field, he left. He could have still beaten me, but he said he needed me alive.”

Delphine took the card for a quick read. “But why is it so special?”

Yuda took the card back. “It spoke to me. Like a monster spirit.”

There was silence for a moment. “No way.” Midori whispered.

“It hasn’t spoken since last night, but I can still feel its presence, like it’s watching over me.”

Delphine spoke again. “I feel out of my element right now, but Yuda? I promise we won’t let the bad guys take your card.”

“I heard Garth a minute ago, wasn’t he with you?”

“He’s off doing his best Apollo Justice impression.”

 

“I can’t believe I’m stuck playing Phoenix Wright while Yuda is surrounded by pretty girls.” Garth lamented over his iced coffee. “Man, why couldn’t I be the one that got jumped in the street?” 

He sat at an empty table on the patio of Café Oceania, waiting for something to happen. Witnesses reported that, over the last few weeks or so, almost every day at one in the afternoon, someone would sit down at this specific table, in this specific seat, order an iced latte, and turn the menu sideways. Within fifteen minutes, a waiter would arrive and ask “Have you found everything to your liking?” that would be his sign.

Ten, twenty minutes passed, and nobody came. Garth began to question the validity of his sources, wondering if they knew he was on the trail. Eventually, a waitress came along. “Have you found everything to your liking?”

Garth responded instantly. “Yes, except for the biscuits.”

The waitress frowned. “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll get your check.”

All according to plan. Garth waited exactly one minute and then made for the back door. He knocked twice, and the door opened. “Not much of a secret society if they do all this in broad daylight.” He thought.

There was a staircase leading down, which he of course followed. At the bottom, he entered a large, dimly lit and dirty room dominated by a central Dueling Court. He stepped into the center, and the floodlights along the ceiling lit up, blinding him momentarily.

Over an intercom, a voice was heard. “You must be the most gullible piece of gutter trash I’ve ever seen!” The voice belonged to a young woman with a bubbly personality.

Garth shouted over the noise. “Who’s there? Show yourself.”

The floodlights illuminated a door on the other side of the room, and through it stepped a girl with pink twintails dressed as a waitress from the café. “Like, did you really think we’d be stupid enough to let some punk kid catch wind of our plans if we really didn’t want him to?”

“Oh yeah? I figured it out before the cops did!”

“Planted information, pinhead. We wanted you here!” She lifted up a stone duel disk, identical to the one that Drake had used in his duel with Yuda. “And now, I’ll introduce you to a world of hurt!”

Against his will, the pink blade on Garth’s disk roared to life, and the duel was on.

 

The hospital entrance opened and Midori and Delphine stepped out into the morning air. “That’s probably all we’re getting from Yuda.” Said Midori. “I wonder how Garth is doing?”

Delphine activated her Duel Disk. the aqua blade flaring to life. “Hopefully better than us, look ahead!”

Before the two was a man in a black coat wearing a simple black mask. His stone Duel Disk was active and glowing red. “Not you, blue girl.”

Midori’s Duel Disk activated on its own, displaying “CONTROLS LOCKED - FORCE DUEL”

“Delphine, go back inside and keep an eye on Yuda!”

The blue girl nodded. “Take care of Tall, Dark and Handsome for me.” She ran back into the building.

The two duelists spoke for a moment before beginning their game. “What are you people after?”

The tall man responded quietly and emotionlessly. “You need not concern yourself with the Master’s plan. Suffice to say that you too possess a STAR.”

“And you’re planning to draw it out of me like your friend did with Yuda?”

“Yes, and if somehow my intelligence is wrong and you are not worthy, I am to dispose of you.”

He said it so casually, as if it was less an instruction and more a declaration of fact. Midori knew that the hardness setting would probably go up to five, just like it did with Yuda. She drew her five cards as her opponent did the same.

“DUEL!”

 

Next Time: Midori duels with the masked assassin while Garth fights for his life against the woman from the café. More STARs are bound to appear!

 

Come back for Chapter 7: Fall, sacred STARs! Two duelists’ determination!

 

 

 

 

[spoiler=Chapter 7]

Chapter 7: Fall, sacred STARs! Two duelists’ determination!

 

“DUEL!”

 

DUEL

Midori: 4000 5 cards

?????: 4000 5 cards

 

“I’ll be taking the first move. But don’t worry; like your time on earth I will make it swift.” The masked assailant looked at his hand for a short moment before making his move. “I set one monster and two facedown cards.”

“Then it’s my turn. I draw!”

 

DUEL

Midori: 4000 6 cards

?????: 4000 2 cards

 

“I’ll start by Normal Summoning Peristarmament Orchid Javelin!” On the field in front of Midori appeared a mature woman with violet hair wearing a greek-style dress made of blue orchid petals. (WIND Level 1 Plant Union 300/300). “And next, I equip her with the Peristarmament Rose WhipPetunia Shield and Trumpet Shackle in my hand!” The flowery warrior coiled the whip tightly and held it in her left hand, to which she also strapped the shield. In her right hand, she held the chain of flower petals.

“Next I activate Will of the Peristylium, allowing me to search a Perist- monster for every one that gets sent to the graveyard. And I’ll also activate the field spell Peristarmory!” The field around the two duelists morphed into the familiar serene garden where Midori had dueled Dexter Rats. “When the card is activated, I add Peristarmament Poppy Darts to my hand from my deck.”

“Battle Phase! Orchid will attack your Facedown monster!” The purple warrior lunged forward with her weapons, throwing the Trumpet shackle, which expanded and wrapped up each of the three facedown cards. “Thanks to Trumpet Shackle, you can’t activate Card Effects until the Damage Step is over! And when she battles, a monster equipped with a Peristarmament gains three-hundred attack points until the end of the Battle Phase. Orchid is holding three, so her attack becomes twelve-hundred!” The soldier struck the facedown with her whip, revealing it to be a generic knight in black armor wearing a mast just like the one her opponent wore. Her opponent did not react to his card’s destruction. “And since my Orchid’s attack increased by 900 from the effect of cards equipped to her, Peristarmory deals damage to you equal to the difference between her current and original attack.”

The masked man was unfazed still even as he was pelted with the splintered remains of his monster. “It’s my turn; Draw!”

 

DUEL

Midori: 4000 1 cards

?????: 3100 3 cards

 

“First, the effect of Masqued Black Knight in my grave activates. I banish it to Summon Masqued Black Rose from my Deck.” From the ground beneath them, another identical black mask appeared, growing on a plantlike stalk until it was fully formed; a green-skinned humanoid cloaked in black rose petals. (DARK Plant Level 4 1000/1000) “Now, I Normal Summon Masqued White Rose from my Hand!” Another rose appeared, completely identical save for its white mask and white petals. (LIGHT Plant Level 4 1000/1000) “And next I activate my Trap Card: Gathering of the Masqued Ones! Since both of my monsters are Plants, I can summon a Plant from my Deck, and I choose Masqued Red Rose!” Yet again, the rose appeared, swathed in crimson red. (FIRE Plant Level 4 1000/1000)

Midori shouted across the garden. “Bad move; Peristarmory is going to force each of those monsters to attack when the Battle Phase begins, and Orchid will grow stronger with each battle!”

“I activate the effect of Masqued Black Rose: Once per turn, I can perform a Contact Fusion with it!

“What?!” Midori watched as the three flowers were shredded, leaving nothing but floating petals and three emotionless masks swirling in a vortex.

The masked man began to chant. “The sacred masks, mark us as one in mind and soul. We are legion, and we are one: Fusion Summon! Come Forth: Montage Masqued Rose!” It descended from the portal: a massive plantlike beast with writhing vines for limps and a gaping jaw beneath its three-colored mask, variably white, black and red. (LIGHT/DARK/FIRE Plant Level 8/ 3000/3000) “This monster gains the combined attributes, Attack, and Defense values of its materials.” He explained. “And it can attack once for each Plant-type monster you control!”

Midori recoiled. She would be able to avoid destruction this turn, but she would need a cunning strategy to avoid defeat.

“Now, destroy that inferior creature!” The writhing plant slammed its vines against Orchid, who blocked the strike with her Petunia Shield. “Petunia Shield protects me from the damage. Then, when a monster equipped with a Peristarmament would be destroyed by battle, I destroy all of its equipped Peristarmament Union monsters instead.” The shield, whip, and shackles shattered, the pieces flying toward the masked man. “And don’t forget, Peristarmory deals damage to you when Orchid gets an attack boost!” The pieces slashed away at the masked man, dropping his Life Points by another nine-hundred.

“And since three Perist- cards I control were sent to the grave, I add PeristrancendencePeristarmament Sphagnum Bomb and Peristylium Angel to my Hand!”

“For now, I will end my turn.”

“Draw!”

 

DUEL

Midori: 4000 5 cards

?????: 2200 4 cards

 

“Let’s have some fun, first I Normal Summon Peristylium Angel.” The angelic man with rose-petal wings appeared on the field, resting lightly upon the grass with bare feet. (WIND Fairy Level 3 1500/1500) “Next, I equip him with Poppy DartsSphagnum Bomb, and Lily Hammer!” The angel took the weapons, a belt containing dozens of darts with poppy fletching, a canister of moss with a pin at the top, and a white and green tallhammer bearing a stylized image of a lilypad on the head.

“Next, I activate Peristrancendence! This spell card lets me fuse using monsters on my field, and if any of them is equipped with a Union Monster, that Union Monster is equipped to the new monster as well.” The armed angel and the disarmed orchid leapt into the sky to join together in a swirling portal. “Angelic Guardian, Calming Orchid. The garden gives rise to sacred weapons and gifted warriors. Now you must join together as more than weapon and wielder: Fusion Summon! Descend, Level 5: Peristarmed Seraphim!” From the portal descended a migthy angel with flowing gossamer hair and three pairs of flowery petal-wings, holding the same weapons that were held by the Angel just a moment before, holding a pair of his wings in front of him defensively. (WIND Fairy Level 5 1500/1500)

“Since Angel and Orchid went to the graveyard, I can add Peristylium Dragon and Peristarmament Bamboo Spear to my hand!”

“I end my Turn.” She hoped that her plan would work.

 

DUEL

Midori: 4000 2 cards

?????: 2200 5 cards

 

The masked man drew his card and activated it. “Masque of Jealousy will give my monster another eight-hundred points of attack for each card in your back row! Including your field spell, you control three equip cards and one continuous spell!” The monster equipped a green mask resembling the Pot of Greed, increasing its power by four-thousand and then its master moved directly to the Battle Phase. “My Montage Masqued Rose attacks your Seraphim!”

“The effect of Seraphim activates! By Discarding Peristylium Dragon, I can target one Plant-type monster on the field, and equip every Perist- Union card I control to that monster.”

“But you only have one monster? What good will that effect do you?”

“I equip Poppy DartsSphagnum Bomb and Lily Hammer to your Plant-type monster!” The three weapons flew away from the Seraphim, steadfast in his defense, and were each grasped by one of the beast’s vines, increasing its attack by nine-hundred as it entered battle. The vines easily crushed the Seraphim, who looked Midori in the eye and smiled knowingly as he shattered. “Allow me to explain the effects of the equip cards your monster has equipped. First: Lily Hammer deals Piercing Damage. Second: Poppy Darts deals double the battle damage. Finally, Sphagnum Bomb takes half the original attack of the destroyed monster as effect damage!”

The masked man worked out the math quickly. “So it’s suicide then? You willingly take on thirteen-thousand five-hundred and fifty points of damage?”

Midori wagged her finger sarcastically. “Not quite, look at the wording on Lily Hammer: ‘your opponent’ refers to you. Even if it’s equipped to your monster, it’s still my card. So you take the damage!”

In the wake of her Seraphim’s demise, the three weapons exploded, causing a massive shockwave to rock the garden around them. As the holograms vanished, the masked man sailed through the air, crashing to a sudden stop into the stone wall of the hospital.

 

DUEL

Midori: 4000 2 cards

?????: 0 5 cards

 

Victory: Midori Kobayashi

 

Midori approached the man, who was still moving, albeit weakly. Before she had a chance to say anything, a black portal appeared on the asphalt, and the marauder sank into it. 

Suddenly, the world around Midori turned black, and she was floating in a space of emptiness, surrounded in the distance by stars and galaxies. She thought she heard a voice whisper “worthy.” From above, a gleaming, shimmering STAR descended into the palm of her hand, and just as quickly as the vision started, the world was back to normal, leaving the STAR to pass into Midori’s body. 

She considered what had happened for a brief moment before realization struck her. “Oh no, what if they come for Garth too?”

 

With his hand empty, Garth took a moment to taunt his opponent “Well then, how are you going to deal with a minefield of Facedown cards? Uh… um…”

“Elizabeth.”

“Right, Liz.”

“Don’t call me that.” The girl’s gaze hardened and her grin vanished.

Garth grinned. “It’s your turn, Liz!”

The pink-haired waitress drew her card. “I said don’t call me that!”

 

DUEL

Garth: 4000 0 cards

Liz: 4000 6 cards

 

“When I Normal Summon Wikkid Dancer, your Set cards can’t be activated until the End Phase of this turn!” Before the two duelists, a pretty girl in a black dancer’s two-piece appeared. She had gossamer wings and the lower half of her face was obscured by a veil. (LIGTH Fiend Level 4 1600/1200) “She will attack directly!” The dancer moved fluidly across the field and pulled off her veil, revealing a terrifying mass of teeth. She blew a kiss at Garth that manifested as a cloud of poisonous gas.

Garth choked. “Damn, ever heard of a tic-tac?” 

The waitress ignored him. “When I successfully attack directly with a Wikkid monster, I can Special Summon Wikkid Nekko from my Deck, but if my opponent controls no monsters, she appears in Defense position.” Out of the shadows, a cat-eared girl appeared, wearing a cozy-looking hoodie. She looked around for a moment and, upon realizing that the field was devoid of monsters, fell asleep. (Earth Beast-Warrior Level 4 1400/1300)

“I set one card and end my turn!”

“Draw!”

 

DUEL

Garth: 2400 1 card

Liz: 4000 4 cards

 

“I activate my Trap card, Trap Stone of Legend. First, it searches out Spell-Eyes Trap Dragon from my Deck, then it gets Special Summoned to my field!” After he drew his targeted card, a large magenta stone, vaguely shaped like an egg, appeared on the field. (FIRE Dragon Tuner Level 1 0/0) “Next, I’ll activate the Trap card, Trixee, The Trap Monarch! By Tributing my Trap monster, I can Summon it to the field and Set all of the Face-Up monsters you control!” A massive warrior in Fucsia armor rose from beneath the card, and with a swing of her massive hammer, flipped both of the face-up monsters face down. (LIGHT Warrior Level 6 2400/1000)

“Trap activate, Turmoilnado! When my opponent Special Summons a monster with the effect of a Trap card, all Face-Down traps on the field are destroyed!” A massive wind began to blow through the underground arena, threatening to tear Garth’s facedowns away from him.

“I activate my other Facedown, Retaliation of Seizure. For every Trap you destroy with a card effect this turn, I draw a card. In return I must discard a card during the End Phase of this turn, and can only set up to the number of traps you have destroyed.” The wind tore through, destroying his two traps and letting him draw two extra cards. He set those two cards and discarded his third. “Turn end, Liz.”

“Stop calling me Liz! Draw!”

 

DUEL

Garth: 2400 1 card

Liz: 4000 5 cards

 

“I’ll start by Flip Summoning my Facedown monsters, then I activate the Ritual Spell card Wikkid Summoning. By tributing my two face-up monsters and the Wikkid Nun in my hand, I can ritual summon any Wikkid monster from my Deck.” The three monsters rose into the sky as a massive cauldron appeared. They transformed into black smoke and flowed into it. The cauldron began to bubble and glow as Elizabeth chanted. “Beauty and Beast, monsters from the darkest corners of human desire, give your lives now to your supreme ruler Ritual Summon! Live now, Level 12 STARs R Wikkid Empress!” The cauldron exploded, bathing the arena in a cloud of smoke. By the time it had finally cleared, Garth bore witness to a giant armored woman, deep black skin and bright white armor, wielding a scythe. Above her head was a floating crown of Light. (DARK Fiend Level 12 Ritual 4000/4000).

“I activate my Solemn Warning! I pay two-thousand Life Points to negate your summon!”

“Unfortunately for you Empress’ Summon cannot be negated. You wasted your Life Points over nothing!”

“Dammit! I activate Spell-Eyes Trap Dragon! I Special Summon it to the field and negate the effects of your Special Summoned monsters until the End Phase.” The massive dragon with crimson scales lunged onto the field, ready to strike. (FIRE Dragon Level 8 3000/2500)

“My boss says you can’t move on, so my Empress will attack!” The massive creature hefted her scythe and swung it down onto the dragon, only to be stopped by a massive buckler.

“I banish Trap Gardna from my graveyard to negate your attack and draw one card.” Garth prepared to draw his card. “You know, whoever you people are, I’m not amused. You put my rival in the hospital And if you think you can take me down you got another thing coming! I won’t ever back down from greedy, selfish bastards like you, DRAW!”

The world around him went black, and he found that he hadn’t actually taken the card from his Deck. “Hey, what the Hell gives?”

All around him there were distant constellations, and from far away above him, a single glowing STAR came down, resting on top of his deck for a moment until it transformed into the shape of a card. Still glowing brightly. 

The world returned to normal, and Garth tore the glowing STAR from the top of his deck, spreading a bright light across the room as the front of the card took on a physical form.

He glared at his opponent with a fire in his eyes. “This game is mine.”

 

DUEL

Garth: 400 3 cards

Liz: 4000 4 cards

 

“I start by Setting three cards Facedown. Turn End.”

 

DUEL

Garth: 400 0 cards

Liz: 4000 5 cards

 

“This is a joke right? You’re not gonna do anything with that STAR you called?” Elizabeth shrugged. “Oh well, now that you have that, I really can’t let you leave here with it, even if it means finishing you off!” The Empress once again swung her scythe at Garth’s Dragon.

“I activate my Trap card. By Banishing two Trap monsters I control, one of which must be a Dragon-type Spell-Eyes card, I can Special Summon it.” A magenta jar depicting the face of a furious dragon appeared. The two monsters that Garth controlled transformed into blazing light and entered the jar.

Garth began to chant. “Eyes of magical lore, Queen of Tactical prowess. It’s time to relinquish your power and awaken the strength that lies dormant within the great dragon: Trap Summon! Come forth, STARs M Spell-Eyes Ruination Dragon!” The jar shattered, revealing the flame-spewing maw of a far larger dragon. Its eyes were glowing slightly brighter than before, and its crimson scales were now covered in plates of cracked marble, making it look like something of a moving Parthenon. Above its horns floated a crown identical to the one above the Empress. (FIRE Dragon Level 10 5000/5000)

“I activate Twin Twisters!” Elizabeth shouted.

“Ruination Dragon is immune to card effects!”

“Then I’ll destroy your two facedowns!”

Garth revealed one of them. “First, my Entrapment targets a monster I control. This turn, at least one monster you control must attack it, no replay can save you now!” He revealed his second card “Next, I activate Maelstrom of Wrath. This turn, all battle damage is doubled!” The cards’ effects resolved before they could be destroyed.

“W-wait, but that means-” His opponent stammered.

“Damn straight, and furthermore when Ruination Dragon battles, he doubles the battle damage anyway, for a total of four times the destruction!”

The Scythe connected, bouncing off of the dragon’s plate harmlessly as it opened its mouth and spewed crimson flames at the Empress. Just before the attack could connect, elizabeth laid her hand over her deck and shouted “I surrender!”

The attack failed to connect, and all of the holograms except for the Ruination Dragon disappeared. The dragon roared. “Coward! You safekeep a STAR that does not belong to you!”

Garth and Elizabeth were both taken aback. The dragon disappeared before it could speak again. At the top of the stairs, the gruff voice of a man echoed. “That was quite a show, MacLaine.” He had short blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, and he wore a White jacket over a black shirt and jeans. Garth recognized him instantly.

“Seth Kingston? What are you doing here?” Garth demanded.

“My part. Apologies for the incompetence of my STARs Hunter, she’ll be dealt with later.”

“So it was you who sent that guy to take down Yuda!”

Seth wagged his finger. “No, it wasn’t me. Though I can assure you his STAR as well as yours would be safest in the hands of my Hunters.” He glared at Elizabeth. “It’s just a shame that you had to be such a coward.”

Elizabeth jumped to her feet. “I couldn’t lose the card you gave me! If his STAR had destroyed it-”

“No excuses! The STARs belong to the most powerful and fearless duelists. You will be giving yours back to the Doctor.”

Elizabeth said nothing, but threw her Empress at Kingston, who caught it in his outstretched hand. 

“As for you, MacLaine. You should send a message to Yuda. Tell him that your STARs are being hunted, and as long as you have them, neither my Hunters nor these Masked assailants will rest.” Kingston turned away, followed shortly thereafter by Elizabeth. An injured Garth hobbled up the staircase painfully as he dialed Delphine’s number. “Come on, pick up...”

 

Next Time: Despite the looming threat of the STARs Hunters, the masked men have vanished without a trace. Although the danger has passed, Yuda and his friends prepare to enter the Kingston Corporation Summer Open, where they hope to find a clue as to how Seth Kingston is involved with the STARs.

 

Come back for Chapter 8: Swing Twin Pendulums! Yuda vs Ryan

 

 

 

 

[spoiler=Chapter 8]

Chapter 8: Swing Twin Pendulums! Yuda vs Ryan

 

In the excitement of the past week, Yuda was given little opportunity for reprieve. For the two days he was in the hospital, none of the masked men returned, and Garth’s experience with Seth Kingston was the end of his investigation. For a frightening week, none of the four friends had a clue as to when or where they might be attacked next, or who or why they were under attack at all. According to Garth, it was all related to the STARs. Yuda took Time-Eyes out of his Duel Disk and stared at it.

Aside from being a STAR, the only remarkable thing about the card was a strange foil. The card was beautiful and it sparkled in the light as he moved it around. He wondered if the reason the Hunters were after him was because the card itself had some monetary value. One thing he couldn’t keep his mind off was the notion that he was hallucinating that night, when he heard his STAR speak. Garth heard his talking too, but both cards had fallen silent. “Come on, I want answers...”

“I want them too, young Yuda.” Before Yuda could process what he had just heard, he found himself standing on a floating stone amid a field of floating stones in a vast expanse of black sky. All round him, he watched as cogs and gears, springs and hands floated along currents of energy colored like aged and tarnished brass in three dimensions, like rivers all around him. In front of him, the Time-Eyes Clockwork dragon appeared, sitting up on its hind legs with its front legs out for balance. Yuda thought, somewhat humorously, that the dragon looked a bit like a dog.

“What’s going on? What is this place? Who are you?” He asked all at once.

The dragon spoke again. “I have brought you into my Card so that we can speak in private. As to who I am, I was hoping you could shed some light on that.”

“Wait, you lost your memory?” Yuda reached his hand out and stepped closer to the dragon, not entirely sure what he was doing. “But why can you talk to me?”

The dragon did not react to the approaching duelist. “I have spent several days now traveling to the ‘Spirit World’, as its denizens call it, using the Portals you call ‘Cards’.”

Yuda wasted no time thinking about his response. “Well yeah, everyone knows where Monster Spirits come from, but why can you talk, and why can I see you outside a duel?”

The dragon looked out into the expanding void around them. “When I journeyed through the myriad realms that make up the Spirit World, I had an opportunity to speak to some of the Spirits upon whom you have called in your duels. Unfortunately, not only are they unable to communicate with you when summoned, none of them recognized me.”

“But you’re in the same archetype. How could that be?”

“The Clockwork Wizard hypothesizes that I was newly created.” He looked down and stared Yuda directly in the eyes. “He believes that it was the power of something called a ‘STAR’ that created me, breathed life into a creature that had never before existed.”

The two of them stared at each other, the static face of the dragon expressionless as ever, the young duelist’s mouth agape in awe. Finally, after an all-too long silence, Yuda spoke. “So… I created you? With my STAR?”

“It would seem to be so. Although what this means for either of us is anyone’s guess.”

“Then I’ll just have to keep doing what I’ve been doing for now.”

“I will remain here, in your Deck, until the time comes to reappear.” The dragon closed its eyes and the world began to distort and fall away, leaving Yuda back in his bedroom in his pajamas.

“I wonder if Garth is having any luck?”

 

“Dammit! Why won’t you talk to me!?” Garth slammed his fist into the wall of the food court, drawing some attention from the masses. “Gah that hurt! You did this to me card!” He had reached the end of his patience days ago, waiting for Ruination dragon to speak with him again. “Come on! Yuda can’t be the only special one around here, where’s my spotlight?”

Midori approached from behind, “Are you okay, Garth? You seem a little subdued today.” Sarcasm dripped from her voice. Garth turned around to see that, unlike him, she wasn’t wearing her school uniform. Instead she was wearing a white shirt covered in flower-shaped pins and a green skirt. 

“My card isn’t talking to me!” Garth shouted.

Midori took a step back. “Uhh… yes?”

The boisterous boy calmed down enough to speak at a reasonable volume. “No, my STAR, the one I got in my Duel with that STARs Hunter, Elizabeth. Yuda said his STAR spoke to him, and mine talked too, but it hasn’t said anything since then.”

“Well yeah, but why are you getting so worked up? Maybe it just can’t talk all the time.”

Garth stomped his foot on the ground, once again all riled up. “I can’t shake the feeling that Yuda’s having some kind of heart-to-heart with his card. I’ll bet they’re best friends by now, and I’ll be relegated to ‘plucky comic relief’ forever!”

“Why are you so obsessed with beating Yuda anyway? I thought there were no hard feelings.”

“There aren’t. It’s been a long time since I’ve been beaten like that, I forgot how thrilling it was to have a rival to keep up with.”

“I don’t follow.”

“I was on an eleven win streak competitively. I’m not saying I never lose, but I don’t lose like that.” He took out his deck and began absentmindedly shuffling. “Yuda reminded me how exciting it is to lose. I played a perfect game, but Yuda was just better than me. I have to get better, and that makes Yuda my rival. So I’ve decided: I’m going to get another eleven wins, and then I’m gonna beat Yuda!” Garth turned around to face Midori, only to find that she was too busy saying hello to a newly-arrived Delphine to listen. “Dammit! Take me seriously you guys!”

Delphine giggled. “Oui, oui, I’m sorry Garth. I didn’t mean to interrupt.” She looked around at the food court, failing to make out any sign of Yuda from the crowd. “Where’s Yuda? He was supposed to meet us here.”

“Dammit, don’t you people ever think about anything besides Yuda?”

“Well you’re one to talk. Weren’t you just shouting about him a minute ago?”

“That’s different!”

 

Yuda finished buttoning his black Polo and slipped on a brass-colored tie. On the lower left side of the shirt was the stylized image of a gear, also in a dark, brassy tone. He brushed his hair so that it fell across the right side of his face so that it fell in its signature poofy swoop, just a little higher than his right eye and long enough to reach his chin. “Dad, I’m going to the mall!”

“Be safe, and remember the tourney starts at one!” Came the response from down the hall. Yuda checked his watch. “Nine o’clock, I got time in more ways than one.”

 

It only took a quick glance to spot his friends among the crowd. The incessant shouting only made it that much easier. “Guys, I just had a conversation with Time-Eyes Clockwork Dragon.” He was met with unintelligibly angry shouting from Garth.

“Please ignore him, Yuda.” Delphine put her hand on Garth’s shoulder as he hung his head in despair. “He’s green with envy, I’m afraid.”

“Anyway, we think we know why he can talk and other cards can’t.” Yuda began to explain the events of that morning.

 

Deep in the dark stone room, the man in the silver mask sat in his stone throne, pondering the events of the last few days alongside his council; of three hooded figures. “The final piece has entered play. Yuda will follow the course of history that has been laid out before him. All we must do is hold back.”

The shortest of the three figures interjected. “But Master, I thought you wanted his STAR? Why not take it yourself? Surely your power-”

The silver-masked man raised his hand, and his subordinate did not dare utter another word. He spoke in that same quiet smooth voice. “All must happen exactly as it did before. We will appear again when the time is right. But for now, the boy has a destiny to fulfill. And this time, I will be the victor.”

 

“So, STARs can talk because the spirit actually resides within the card? It sounds a little far-fetched to me.” Delphine, having just finished hearing Yuda’s story, was somewhat skeptical. “I don’t think it’s unique to STARs though. I was asking around on 5kun, and from what I’ve heard, any card with a foil has a spirit inside. Maybe the foil is just something that STARs get automatically?”

Yuda nodded. “It makes sense, I remember hearing about foils a while back too.”

Garth, who had since finished his tantrum, interrupted. “I heard any monster can be foiled under the right conditions. And rumors from before they disappeared seem to imply that STARs users can do it easier.”

Midori looked around herself at the three of them. “Actually guys, I wanted to share something myself.” She produced the blank card. It’s frame and border was grayed out, the name and text were missing, and the image showed nothing but a single STAR among a black background. “This came to me after my duel with that masked creep, but I didn’t have a chance to play it, so it didn’t take on a form.”

Yuda examined the card carefully. “I don’t get the same surge of power from this that I feel when I hold my own STAR. I bet that’s part of the magic; they’re bound to their wielders.”

“But it has no foil. So maybe the rumor is right, and it’ll foil itself when I turn it into a monster.”

As the group chatted away about the nature of the STARs, Yuda’s cell phone went off “12:00 ALARM”. Sorry guys, I gotta go. The KC Summer Open is today. 

Delphine stood up. “Oiu, we know. We’re all going to be rooting for you Yuda.”

“Yeah, you’re gonna need to make it all the way to the finals if you’re gonna qualify for the big one.” Garth laughed. “Of course, you’re the only one left who hasn’t qualified yet. So you’d better change that!”

“I will Garth, just watch me move!”

“One more thing.” Midori grabbe Yuda’s shoulder before he could leave. “I saw the brackets online. Your first opponent uses Pendulums just like you.”

“I know, I can handle it though.” Yuda grinned. “After all, you guys haven’t seen my newest trick.”

 

The Kingston Corporation Summer Open was to be held in KC Stadium, just as it had been every year before. The crowds were bustling, pushing and shoving to get a decent seat in the stands. Unlike scholastic tourneys, duels here would be happening one at a time, which meant that when Yuda was on stage, all eyes would be on him. 

He left his friends in line to get their admissions while he went ahead to check in at the Participants’ Booth. The clerk at the table handed him a nametag on a lanyard and pointed him to the Locker Room. “You’re up first, so be ready. Mister Kingston is going to want you in the wings to duel right after the opening address.” Yuda looked at the time on his phone “1:02”. The clerk spoke again. “He’ll be wrapping up any minute now.”

“I got it.”

 

Out on the field, Seth Kingston was nearing the end of an energetic opening monologue. “...and the winner of this tournament will of course have the honor of dueling me personally for the prize of three-thousand dollars!” He was met with an uproaring applause. “But first, let’s give a Kingston Corporation welcome to our first match of the first bracket: From the West gate, an up-and-comer with attitude and a deck that works like clockwork: Hirose Yuda!”

Yuda stepped out of the gate and onto the field, waiting for his opponent as the crowd roared. He scanned the area, looking for his parents and his friends, but they were lost in the sea of faceless fans.

“And from East gate, he’s a young man dreaming big, give it up for Ryan Bragg!”

The crowd roared just as ferociously as Yuda’s opponent took the stage. A young man about Yuda’s height with hair alternating black and white. Her wore a blacki jacket over a white shirt marked to look like an 8-tile Domino. His Duel Disk was also decorated to look like a domino. “Yo, are you ready to party?” He ignited the white tray of his Disk. “Cuz this little Domino’s gonna bring the bigshot down!”

Yuda lit up his own Duel Disk, eagerly anticipating the excitement of the duel. “Hope that ego doesn’t get too big or the fall might hurt.”

“DUEL!”

 

Next Time: Yuda focuses on the duel in front of him, struggling to overcome the force of Ryan’s Domino strategy, but with his qualification for the Ocean City Summer Festival on the line, he can’t afford to lose.

 

Come back for Chapter 9: The Final Domino Falls! Yuda vs Ryan

 

 

 

 

[spoiler=Chapter 9]

Chapter 9: The Final Domino Falls! Yuda vs Ryan

 

Ryan Bragg drew his five cards and stared at Yuda. “I have a dream, you know, and it’s why I can’t lose.”

“A dream, huh?” Yuda thought. “Must be nice, but a dream won’t win a duel.”

The Domino duelist grinned as he looked over his opening hand. The pieces were here for a decent start. “Well, well, well, looky what I have here: With my Scale 0 Domino Due and my Scale 7 Domino Tre, I set the pendulum scale!” In the pillars of light that appeared at Ryan’s sides, two creatures appeared. The first was a warrior with the body of a 2-point Domino, weilding a small dagger. The second had the body of a 3-point Domino and held up a long spear. A mystical light appeared in the skies above him, between his monsters, and began to swing.

“Swing, mighty pendulum! It’s time to set up a beautiful board of black and white: Pendulum Summon! Level 1, Domino Uno, Level 2 Domino Due, and Level 3 Domino Tre!” The first monster to appear was, once again, a Domino-bodied knight bearing only a single black dot on its body. (LIGHT Warrior Tuner Level 1 400/400) Following shortly after were copies of the two earlier knights, Due (LIGHT Warrior Level 2 800/800) and Tre (LIGHT Warrior Level 3 1200/1200) “Now, Yuda, you can play!”

 

DUEL

Ryan Bragg: 4000 0 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 6 cards

 

Yuda drew his card without speaking and looked over his hand. He was glad to have the opportunity to face another Pendulum user, but the summoning of a Tuner without a Synchro left him unnerved. “I presume you intend to perform a Synchro summon at some point. What could you possibly have in store for me?”

Ryan ran his fingers cockily through his hair. “You’re gonna have to just find out!”

Yuda scowled. It was obviously a trap, and he knew it, but he had no choice. There was no justification for leaving a potential Level 6 synchro on the board this early in the duel. Unfortunately his opening hand was not as strong as he would have hoped. He sighed. “Of course, that’s the price you pay for side-decking. At any rate, I Normal Summon Time-Eyes Gazer!” Onto the field appeared a long reptilian tail, colored black with an intricate pattern of bronze stripes and yellow shapes running up to the body of a man wearing a dress shirt and tie. The man gave a deep bow and opened his eyes, revealing the dimension of flowing sand and clockwork behind them. (LIGHT Reptile Level 3 900/1700)

“You’re not gonna Pendulum Summon?” Ryan shouted incredulously “But everyone said you ran a Pendulum Deck!”

Yuda answered. “I do. It just so happens that I keep two decks, and this one I’m using today is a combination of both.” He stared down his opponent and pointed accusingly at his opponent. “Do you honestly think you’re the only one who researches their opponents?”

“So what if you did your research? My Dominoes are the new kids on the block, no way you prepared a counter overnight.” The black and white duelist pointed out.

“No, but I did know they were a Pendulum archetype, and one thing you should know is that Time-Eyes monsters have highly disruptive effects! Observe; my Gazer has the power to instantly destroy any Pendulum-summoned monster that battles it! Attack that little Domino Uno!” The snake man slithered up to the small soldier, who fearlessly brandished a small cudgel in self-defense. But it looked into the Gazer’s eyes and was forced to drop its weapon. Gazer wrapped the Domino in his tail and crushed it, shattering it completely.

 

Up in the stands, Garth was too busy passionately consuming a slice of pizza to engage in the conversation that Midori and Delphine were having.

“I’m worried about Yuda. He hasn’t used these cards in a long time, and he didn’t have time to practice before today.”

Oui, he’s skilled, but he’s not good enough to use something that complicated without practice.” Delphine carefully surveyed the battlefield. “If he wants to win this, he’ll need to scrape off the rust right away.”

Garth, having finished his snack, interjected. “I’m with You two on this. One of the reasons Yuda beat me is because I didn’t practice with my trap deck before I dueled him. I was overconfident and it led me to defeat. But I think Yuda will be fine!”

Midori leaned over Delphine to speak to Garth more directly. “How’s that?”

“Because he knows that he can’t lose. It doesn’t matter if he feels the pressure, he won’t lose because he can’t lose.”

“Or, alternatively, he’ll be too worried to focus on the duel. He knows he needs five wins in a row. If he doesn’t come out on top here, he’ll have to kiss the Summer Festival goodbye. I’m sure the pressure’s already getting to him…”

 

“And since you definitely want that card back, let me explain that since Gazer destroyed a monster with its card effect that had less attack than him, the destroyed monster becomes Banished!” The Gazer slunk back onto his own side, gleefully grinning at the destruction of the Domino soldier.

“Yes, I would prefer my monster not be Banished, but unfortunately for you, his effect activated when he was destroyed! My Uno, when it is destroyed, destroys one monster on the Field whose level is one greater. I destroy the Level 2 Domino Due!” The ghostly image of Uno fell from the sky, right on top of Due, knocking it over. “And Due has the same power, so now I destroy Domino Tre!” Due fell over dizzily into Tre, destroying the both of them.

“But why? Your field is completely empty now!” Yuda demanded. “Why would you make such a dangerous move without any cards in your hand?”

Ryan smiled. “You’ll see, but you might not like it when you do.”

Yuda scowled again. “Main Phase 2! I set two Facedowns and end my turn.” As he spoke, the white eyes of the two Pendulum Dominoes suddenly shifted to red.

“Uh-oh! The End Phase of a turn where one of my dominoes fell down causes my Pendulum Effects to activate!” Ryan pointed to his right. “First, my Due gives me a hundred Life Points for each Domino that bit the dust this turn.” Due raised its hand and a magical shower of glitter rained down on Ryan, restoring three-hundred points. He pointed to his left. “And Tre destroys a level 3 monster on the field, since that’s the number of Dominoes that fell this turn. So say ‘buh-bye’ to Time-Eyes Gazer!” The other Domino simply pointed upward. Gazer looked up at the sky, not having enough time to realize before it was too late that he had been crushed by a massive Domino and destroyed.

“Not good.” Yuda thought. “If that effect had activated next turn, my trap could have saved Gazer. I’ll have to think of something else.”

“I have a dream, and that dream gives me the strength I need to push forward! This next card will be exactly what I need!” Ryan seemed more like he was reassuring himself than boasting to Yuda. “Draw!”

 

DUEL

Ryan Bragg: 4300 1 card

Yuda Hirose: 4000 3 cards

 

“I begin with the Spell card Pendulumgreed! This card requires that I Banish Due and Tre from my Extra Deck, but in return allows me to draw cards until I’ve got one more than you!” Ryan drew his four cards. “Next, I Pendulum Summon again! Rise, Level 3 Domino Tre, Level 4 Domino Quattro, and Level 1 Domino Uno!” Tre and Uno appeared once more from the Pendulum Portal, followed by a larger four-point Domino holding a battleaxe (LIGHT Warrior Tuner 1600/1600)

“Next, we will enjoy the field spell card, Wavering City!” The battlefield around them vanished from sight, replaced by a city of crystal spires jutting out into the heavens and roads paved with red and blue stones. Pendulums hung from the sky, each swinging to its own tempo. “While this card is on the field, each of us can swap a Pendulum Card on the field with one in our Pendulum zones, and I’ll swap Due in my Left Scale with the Uno on my field.” The two monsters shared an approving nod as they switched places, leaving the pendulum scales unchanged.

“Now, I can Tune my Level 4 Domino Quattro to my Level 3 Domino Tre.”

Yuya stepped back. “Here it comes!”

“The black and white waves will tower and topple over everything in their path! Rise now and show them the strength of a domino effect! Synchro Summon: Level 7 GigaDomino Sette!” A massive Domino soldier appeared, this time brandishing a towering sword and a domino shield. (LIGHT Level 7 Synchro Pendulum 7/7 2800/2800)

“Trap Activate: Pendulum Eyes! Since you Special Summoned a Pendulum monster, all Pendulum monsters on the Field are destroyed, and I can add two Pendulums from my Deck to my Hand!”

“Sorry pal, but my GigaDomino is immune to card effects besides its own while my Scales are set!”

The swinging pendulum above Ryan stopped, and a bolt of light came down and struck the small Due, destroying it. “And since you don’t have a Level three anywhere on the field, you can’t activate Due’s effect to destroy a card.” Yuda declared. “With the power of my trap card: I add Clockwork Wizard and Clockwork Dowser to my Hand!”

“So you are using Clockwork, good!” Ryan laughed. “Since a Domino bit it this turn, my GigaDomino Sette gets to stay on the field. And it’s going to attack you directly!” The massive domino soldier lunged forward, blade first to skewer Yuda.

“Trap activate: Time Out! I can activate this because you declared a direct attack with a Special-Summoned monster, you can choose to continue your attack and allow me to Special Summon a “Time-Eyes” monster after the fact, or you can choose to stop your attack right here.”

“I’m gonna keep going, I have a dream to make real!” The blade tore through the air, crushing the ground beneath him as Yuda leapt away to escape it, but the shockwave it created still managed to knock him over, in addition to more than half of his Life Points. “And on the End Phase, I can Special Summon an Uno from my Deck with the effect of Domino Uno in my Left Scale. And with the power of Domino Tre in my right I have to destroy a Level 1, so I destroy the Uno in my Pendulum Scale!” Just as he said, the monster appeared, and its doppelganger was destroyed by the power of Tre, breaking the Pendulum Scale.

Since you attacked me directly, I special summon Time-Eyes Captivator!” Before the turn ended, in a puff of smoke, a young woman with red skin and wearing a stage magician’s suit and tie appeared. She lifted her eyes to meet the gaze of GigaDomino and revealed those same brassy eyes that Gazer had. (LIGHT Level 3 Fiend 1500/900) “While my Captivator is on the field in attack position,” Yuda explained, “monsters you’ve Special Summoned can’t attack.”

“That’ll all change when I recomplete my Pendulum Scale!”

“We’ll just see about that. My turn, Draw!”

 

“I gotta hand it to Yuda, these Time-Eyes are really good lockdown cards.” Garth noted between sips of his slushie. “How come he never uses them?”

Midori shook her head. “Practicality, Garth. Time-eyes are good at disrupting your opponent but they don’t synergize very well with a primarily Pendulum-focused deck.” She explained. “The only reason he’s using them now is because he knew his opponent was going to use Pendulums.”

Delphine scratched her chin in confusion. “This Ryan fellow, he’s making very poor decisions, and his deck has no valid draw engine to speak of. Not to mention his Field spell has given Yuda an incredible out, depending on what he sets and what he summons.”

Midori looked out at the field intently. “Yeah, I noticed it too. I think Yuda will be fine. The kid’s Domino cards are amazing, but he hasn’t prepared for this level of tournament play.”

“So.... not a chance?” Garth asked.

“None at all, Yuda has this in the bag.”

 

DUEL

Ryan Bragg: 4300 0 cards

Yuda Hirose 1200 6 cards

 

Yuda lifted two cards from his Hand. “Using my Scale 2 Clockwork Wizard and my Scale 6 Clockwork Dowser, I set the Pendulum Scale!” The Wizard with his cogs and gears arose on the left of Yuda, and to his right, a new monster appeared, one that resembled a meditating monk, holding a large brass pendulum in its hand. “With Clockwork Dowser’s effect, I can add Time-Eyes Gazer from my Grave to my Hand.” The dowser held up its right hand, and the pendulum it held began to swing for a moment, and the ghostly image of Gazer reappeared, returning to Yuda’s hand. 

“Next, I Pendulum Summon! Flow, sands of Time. Turn, wheel of fate. Let loose the power within to unleash the cogs of Destiny! Pendulum Summon! Come forth, Level 3 Clockwork MaidenTime-Eyes Gazer, and Time-Eyes Trancer!” Alongside the familiar blonde swordmaiden (EARTH Level 3 Machine Pendulum 7/7 1500/1500) and the stage-magician naga (LIGHT Reptile Level 3 900/1700), a new creature appeared. This one, once again wearing the suit and tie of a stage magician, had the appearance of a young girl with white hair. (LIGHT Psychic Level 3 0/0)

 

Yuda whispered to himself. “I have a dream too.” The world around him went black, and once again, a STAR descended onto him, its shining light revealing a memory.

 

TEN YEARS AGO

 

A crying Yuda, only a small child at this point, sat in the lap of his father. “But I wanna go with you!”

“In my squad car? Not a chance kiddo” Yuji said with an infectious smile. “It’s super dangerous, what I do. So you have to promise you’ll stay away, where it’s safe.”

“If it’s dangerous, why do you do it? Why don’t you stay where it’s safe?”

Yuji Hirose stared up at the clouds rolling by. “Because I have a dream.” He lifted up his son onto his shoulders. “I want to live in a Shining World”

“What’s a Shining World?”

“It’s a magical place, where all your fears can melt away. It’s a safe world. People can hope, and dream, and play, and nothing bad ever happens. I want to make that Shining World real, so that you can grow up there.”

“But it’ll be easier if I help you. I can protect you too! And mommy!”

 

Yuda opened his eyes as the light subsided and noticed that a single tear had rolled down his cheek, and that there was a STAR in his Extra Deck.

“Big deal, not a single monster you control can stand up to my GigaDomino!”

“True, but it’s not a single monster I need! I use the effect of your field spell to switch Clockwork Magician with Clockwork Maiden!” The two allies high-fived as they passed each other, allowing the Wizard to take to the field (EARTH Machine Level 7 Pendulum 2/2 2500/2000) in exchange for both Pendulum Scales locking up at six. “Now, with the power of my Time-Eyes Trancer, I can use Pendulum Monsters you control as materials for any Extra Deck Summon!”

“What?!” Ryan gasped.

Yuda drew the STAR from his Extra Deck and slammed it onto the field. “You said you had a dream, Ryan? Well I have one too. And I can’t afford to lose! With my Level 7 Clockwork Wizard and your Level 7 GigaDomino Sette, I construct the Overlay Network!” The two monsters transformed into two beams of light, one yellow, one orange, and flew away into the network. “Majestic Noble from a faraway place, descend now onto the field of battle, and help me to realize my dream: Xyz Summon! Come forth, Rank 7, *X Time-eyes Eon Majesty!” As the light of the Xyz summon faded away, both duelists beheld the form of a beautiful woman in a flowing gold dress holding a staff of polished brass. There was a pair of shimmering, glittering golden wings on her back, and her hair was long and wild, falling loosely about her face. She opened her eyes and revealed the expanse of Time that dwelt within them. Above her head, a bright white crown of light appeared. (LIGHT Spellcaster Rank 7 Xyz Pendulum OLU 2 0/0 2300/2100)

“W-what the Hell? A STAR?!” Ryan fell backward in shock, and the stadium fell silent.

Yuda closed his eyes and took a calming breath. I attack directly with Time-Eyes Gazer.” The naga-magician leapt across the field and pelted Ryan with his tail, striking down nine-hundred points. “Then Clockwork Maiden.” The swordmaiden sliced through the air, causing a tearing wind to strike at the opponent.

Ryan stood up, shaking as he lost another fifteen-hundred points, watching as the Royal STARs monster before him readied an attack. “But… my dream...”

“I have a dream too. This is why I duel...” The majestic lady leveled her sceptre at Ryan, and fired a massive beam of energy that tore across the field. “For a Shining World!”

As the holograms disappeared, the crowd began to roar in excitement, and Yuda stood tall at the center of their Shining World.

 

DUEL

Ryan Bragg: 0 

Yuda Hirose: 1200

Victory: Yuda Hirose

 

Next Time: Yuda’s mastery of STARs is out of the bag, and he gains an instant celebrity following. In the meantime, he must prepare for his next duel. With only three rounds left until the finals, can Yuda go undefeated and top the tourney? And what of the role played by Seth Kingston?

 

Come back for Chapter 10: Secrets of the White Hat! Yuda vs Bruno

 

 

 

 

[spoiler=Chapter 10]

Chapter 10: Secrets of the White Hat! Yuda vs Bruno

 

“Yuda! Yuda! Yuda!” The cheer sounded throughout the stadium as Yuda and Ryan both left the field. From his perch in the Box above the stands, Seth Kingston watched the aftermath. “So it’s true then, this Hirose Yuda has a STAR.”

“Not just one sir.” His secretary supplied him with a small stack of papers, a report she had compiled based on everything they knew. “Witnesses say the STAR he used in his duel with that Masquerade footsoldier was called Time-Eyes Clockwork Dragon.”

“So he’s generated two STARs, maybe three.” Kingston stood up abruptly from his seat. “Marcy, I have some business to look into, make sure the tourney runs smoothly and keep me updated on any other unexpected appearances.”

“Yes, Mr. Kingston, of course.”

When Kingston was out of the private room, he sighed. “Hirose Yuda, this is far beyond you. Is your Shining World worth the risk?”

 

Bravo, Yuda!”

“You did great out there.”

“Remember to play like that next round too.”

The four friends walked down the road toward the North residential district, decidedly uninterested in watching the rest of the day’s duels, since Yuda would not be involved in them regardless, and with the emergence of a new STAR, they had much to discuss.

Yuda stared intently at the foiled art of Time-Eyes Eon Majesty, trying to learn anything he could about the card. But the spirit within would not show. “Two STARs though… I wonder if it means something.”

“I wouldn’t worry too much, Yuda.” Garth wrapped his arm tightly around his rival. “It just means you and me are special, destined to play card games forever.”

Delphine clapper her hands together. “Oui, the best destiny ever!”

Midori shook her head in exasperation. “No, Yuda’s right. I mean nobody’s even seen a STAR in over thirty years. So why are they showing up now, and why just to us?” 

Delphine looked down at her feet and whispered “Not all of us...”

“What was that, Del?”

“Nothing, just...” She thought quickly about a way to avoid dwelling on the subject. “Yuda received both of his during a duel, and both times he got a new monster right away.”

Garth nodded. “Yeah, same with me, so?”

Delphine held her chin in her hand, thinking. “But Midori got hers after her duel, and it still hasn’t taken a form. Why?”

Midori took her STAR out of her Extra Deck. “I’m not sure, maybe I’ll know when it’s born. What about you Yuda, what have you learned from Time-Eyes?”

Yuda put his card back into the Extra Deck. “Nothing unfortunately, he’s been running around in my Deck since this morning.”

 

The flowing sand and turning gears of the Time dimension passed by as the Clockwork Dragon soared, falling down on bronzed wings toward the bottom, where the golden sands of Time pooled around islands of bronze and stone. Here, the Dragon was greeted by three swordsmaidens. “I sensed that a new STAR had been created, has it arrived?”

The Brown-haired maiden pointed behind her to a long and winding path which led away to a tall and imposing stone building. “She, like you, is without memory. Retainer is doing his best to examine her, and determine what he can.”

Her golden-haired sister jumped up and down, childishly calling for the dragon’s attention. “First thing’s first, magic-man wants a word with you!”

“The Wizard? What does he need?”

“He said something like ‘I found some ruins of whatever that he needs to see’.”

The brunette sister shook her head. “Yes I’m sure the translation is quite direct. Either way, you should see him.”

The dragon stomped away, hurrying to the home of Clockwork Wizard. The building was small and circular, almost more of a vault in the floor than it was a house, and yet the Wizard stood in front of the door, patiently waiting for the dragon to arrive. “You’ve come then, care to learn more of we, the Clockwork?”

The dragon bowed his head respectfully. “Of course, until Yuda summons me again, there’s no reason to rest in his world.”

The Wizard stepped past the dragon and led him down a long and winding path, away from the buildings that the Clockwork called home and toward a golden doorframe. It stood there, erect but empty, with nothing but particles of sand and air to pass through as it framed the expanse of space and time surrounding the two.

“What is this place?”

The wizard raised his staff, and the clockwork bits surrounding him began to turn. The golden doorframe began to glow with light, and the sand flowing beneath them twisted and twirled to fill the space, forming a swirling vortex of sand. “Follow, young STAR, and witness.”

 

“Well, my friends, welcome to my home!” Delphine presented with open arms a lavish building, a mansion on the outskirts of the main residential area overlooking the sea. The building was pristine white, three glorious stories shining in the daylight.

Garth’s jaw dropped. “This isn’t a home, it’s a castle!”

Yuda and Midori looked on with sparkling eyes. “Woah, it’s pretty!”

Delphine giggled. “Well of course! The Marchand family were one of the first to come to Oceania. My great grandfather, Pierre Marchand, helped build the country!” Suddenly, she let her face become almost comically serious. “Now, we’ll have some place comfortable where we can discuss the STARs in private.”

 

The Wizard and Dragon emerged from the swirling vortex of sand into a dreary scene: everywhere was shattered stone and effigies of strange monsters, surrounded by mountains of drab gray. Above and all around them, they could see the solid stone roof of the hidden cave in which they walked. The Wizard explained.

“Millions of years ago, we Clockwork were created for a singular purpose: to do battle and protect our home from the Spell-Eyes.” The pair stopped, and the Wizard motioned with his staff toward a large central statue, one that he recognized but which the Dragon had never seen. “The Spell-Eyes Trap Dragon which you see before us is the most powerful of these creatures.”

The Clockwork Dragon stepped forward and examined the statue carefully. “He is nothing but stone.”

“He is a Trap Monster. You had not yet been created, but one of Yuda’s more recent duels was against a user of these ferocious monstrosities. While they are in this realm, they are sealed as Traps and cannot form.” As the Wizard explained, a tall, heavily burned man wearing a mask and a cybernetic suit approached. “We have this Jinzo to thank for that.”

The Jinzo spoke in a guttural and broken voice. “When they are summoned, they leave this place, and yet in their return their motion is only temporary. I am Jinzo, the guardian of this place.”

“I am the Time-Eyes Clockwork Dragon.”

Jinzo looked toward the wizard, his mask expressionless, as though to demand an explanation.

“I’m getting to that, he is the STAR that Yuda created, the one I spoke of.”

The dragon tilted his head to the side. “Getting to what?”

“Well, you have not met them, and Yuda himself has not used them in a very long time, but our progenitors who created us, they had the power to see into the future. They were called the Eon, and they created two races. The Clockwork, and a race of tricksters and hypnotists known as the Time-Eyes. And one more thing: I found an image of you etched into the Prophetic Gears by our progenitors, an etching that need I remind you is far older than you.”

The dragon stepped back a moment, unsure of what to think. “Then my coming was prophecised?”

“And by extension, our dear Yuda as well. Our cards have been held by many, but I believe he is the key to unlocking the truth behind our creation, and the Eon who govern us.”

 

“Your duel tomorrow is going to be against some guy named Bruno Giordano.” Midori read off her phone screen. “Looks like he uses a Flip deck.”

“Yeah I know, he’s an upperclassman of mine.” Yuda answered through bites of salad. “I’ve dueled him before, so we know each other’s decks pretty well.”

“Doesn’t that make you nervous though?” Garth had his head resting on his fist. “I mean, he sounds like he could be a bit of a problem, especially if he’s faced your Pendulum Shenanigans before.”

“Well, I’ve got my STARs now, so even if he were to prepare, I have some new tricks up my sleeve.”

Yuda’s cards began to shine, and from within the voice and form of the Dragon emerged. “You should focus more on the future than the present, Yuda.”

The four friends recoiled, taken aback by the sudden appearance of a Duel Spirit over the dining room table. Yuda tipped back in his chair and fell onto the floor as the dragon continued. “Something important is happening, and although we don’t know exactly what, the Clockwork Wizard is convinced that you and I are key to an ancient prophecy.”

Before Yuda could respond, Garth jumped onto the table, waving Spell-Eyes Ruination Dragon and Spell-Eyes Trap Dragon around like a madman. “No fair! Why don’t my monsters show up like you do!”

The dragon merely stared him down until he backed away and returned to his seat. When the interruption was over, he turned his attention back to Yuda. “There is more at stake now than a single duel, Yuda. You must prepare yourself for the coming darkness, whatever form that may take.”

“You mean those masked freaks, like the guy who attacked me the day I created you...”

“No, the evils of your world are something separate, we believe. I speak of a prophecy from within the Duel World, which tells of my coming to preserve the world against an ancient threat.” The Dragon spread his wings, which nearly reached the far walls of the room. “You must continue to gather STARs.”

Yuda stood up and reached out his hand toward the dragon. “But why? What’s so important about the STARs?”

“The Wizard and I believe that the STARs may be the only way to restore the Progenitors of the Clockwork and the Time-Eyes. It is only they who have the power to reveal the truth of this prophecy.”

Yuda held his chin. “Eon? Like, Time-Eyes Eon Majesty? I summoned her earlier today.”

“Perhaps, Yuda. I’ve not been to meet her yet. For now, I want you to do everything you can to prepare, and remember that there is more at stake than a silly title.” With that, the beast vanished, leaving the room emptier and eerily quiet.

 

The sun was high in the sky over the stadium as crowds poured in from all over the city to witness the second day and the second round of duels. Yuda’s friends were already in the stands, waiting patiently for the match to begin. Garth was, of course, working on a tub of popcorn. Soon enough, the lights flared on, and two duelists took the stage. The first was Yuda, and the second was a tall boy wearing a three-piece stage magician’s suit and a top-hat: Bruno Giordano.

Yuda readied his disk and began the introductions. “Nice getup, I’ve got some cards that would have loved to meet your tailor, if I hadn’t sided them out that is.”

His opponent activated his disk as well, a black body with a golden beam. “Now, now. I think we’re here to see some cards, not threads, isn’t that right?”

“Then why wait? Let’s get started!”

“DUEL!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 5 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 5 cards

 

“I’ll begin by setting one monster and two facedowns in my backrow.” The three cards appeared in front of him, taunting Yuda with their hidden contents. “Exit, stage right.”

“Then I draw!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 6 cards

 

Yuda picked two cards out of his hand without hesitation. “I’ll start with a classic: Using my Scale 2 Clockwork Justicar and Scale 6 Clockwork Maiden, I set the Pendulum Scale!” To his left, Yuda’s armored Judge rose, scepter at the ready. On his right, the blonde-haired swordsmaiden rose as well, and Yuda could swear he saw her wink at him.

“”Here it comes…” Burno thought to himself.

The pocket watch appeared in the sky between the pillars of light, and as Yuda pointed his hand into the sky it began to swing, carving light into the air. “Next, I Pendulum Summon! Flow, sands of Time. Turn, wheel of fate. Let loose the power within to unleash the cogs of Destiny! Pendulum Summon! Rise, Level 3 Clockwork Mechanist and Level 5 Clockwork Sniper!” At the Apex of the watch’s swing, a portal opened to the dimension of swirling sand and spat out two monsters. The first was a small cylindrical robot with numerous arms (EARTH Level 3 Machine/Pendulum 6/6 1200/900) and the second was a stealth-dressed soldier wielding his rifle of exposed cogs and springs (EARTH Level 5 Machine/Pendulum 2/2 2000/1600).

Bruno lifted up his hand, which for some reason was occupied by a stage-prop magic wand, black with a white tip. “I activate a quick-play spell: Now You See Me… And with it, I Flip Summon one Facedown monster I control, so say hello to White Hat & Black Rabbit!” The card revealed itself, and emerged a stage magician dressed in all-white. He lifted off his top hat and pulled out a jet-black Rabbit. (DARK Level 2 Psychic/Flip 700/0) 

“Since the monster I Flip Summoned was a White Hat, I get to shuffle my spell back into the deck and draw one card.” Bruno did so and smiled. “And of course, the Flip effect of Black Rabbit Sets all of the face-up monsters you control!” The rabbit began to emanate a strange force, and all of Yuda’s monsters flipped face down.

“Wait, what?”

“Next, my other facedown activates: the Trap card, ...Now You Don’t! This lets me Set my White Hat again, so I can reuse its Flip effect later.”

“Then if you don’t mind, I’ll be taking my turn now!” Yuda reexamined the two cards left in his hand. Depending on what other tricks were up Bruno’s sleeve, he would have to get creative with his plays. “Let’s do this old-school! I offer my face-down monsters as Tribute for the Normal Summon of Clockwork Wizard!” The two cards shattered and vanished, and in a flash the Wizard entered the fray, clockwork staff and floating bits ready for battle. (EARTH Level 7 Machine/Pendulum 2/2 2500/2000)

“Attack his facedown!” The Wizard raised his staff and lunged forward, easily crushing the card and the monster it hid.

“Did you forget? My White Hat can flip your monster facedown when Flipped!” Before it could be destroyed, the black rabbit sent out a second wave of power.

“Then maybe I should use my Wizard’s special ability: Once per turn I can negate the activation of any card or card effect and destroy it.” The Wizard snapped his fingers and the cogs and gears of his floating bits began to turn, returning the rabbit and its magic back to the way they were before it activated, and then destroyed it. “I end my turn.”

“And begin mine, Draw!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 4 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 1 card

 

“First, the Spell card Second Set allows me to Set two monsters from my Hand, as long as I don’t activate any Flip effects this turn, so I set two monsters, and one facedown, and end my turn.”

“Damn, you and Garth would have a field day… Draw!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 0 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 2 cards

 

Yuda examined the cards in his Hand: Clockwork Wyvern, which currently lay outside of his pendulum scales, which would make recovery difficult were it to be overpowered, and Tick On, which he could use, but to do so now would be risky. He raised his hand, and opened the portal once more. “Flow, sands of Time. Turn, wheel of fate. Let loose the power within to unleash the cogs of Destiny! Pendulum Summon! Come forth: Level 3 Clockwork Mechanist and Level 5 Clockwork Sniper.” The two monsters reappeared once more, raring to fight. “My Mechanist will attack your Facedown on the right!” The tiny drone charged forward, with its arms cracking with electricity, and destroyed the facedown, revealing a white-dressed magician holding a small metal case.

“Looks like you just took out my White Hat & Money Box!” Bruno taunted. “And since he flipped, I get to draw a card!”

“Then my Sniper will attack the other!” The soldier leapt into the air and flipped upside-down, so that his crosshairs were settled on the card directly below him. He fired, and destroyed yet another white hat, again holding up a black rabbit.

“Now my White Hat & Black Rabbit will Set all of your Monsters!”

“I activate my Wizard’s-” Before he could finish, his Wizard fell into facedown position, leaving nothing but the back of his card. “What?”

“My Facedown was Hiding Draw! It Sets any monster on the field and lets me draw a card, but only if that monster activates an effect.” Bruno drew his card.

Yuda gritted his teeth. Despite having no cards on the field, his opponent had managed to keep control of the battlefield this entire time. “I end my turn.”

“Draw!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 3 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 1 card

 

I activate the Spell Card Is This one Yours? And here’s how it works. You pick a facedown you control and I guess what it is. I guess right, and I return it to your hand and Set any card in my Grave, then I can activate the card again. If I activate it while you control no facedown cards, I can draw one card”

Yuda recoiled. “But you already know exactly which cards I have on the field!”

“That’s right, so instead of waiting for you to pick, I’ll just guess ‘em all now! Clockwork MachinistClockwork SniperClockwork Wizard!” The three cards returned to Yuda’s hand, and three monsters from Bruno’s Grave returned to his field, face-down. Then, he drew an extra card. “Next, I’ll set another monster and end my turn!”

Yuda drew his card silently as he examined the field, listening to Bruno’s gloating all the while. “Try everything you may, it still won’t be enough to stop me, because you haven’t even seen the main event!”

 

Next time: Yuda is on the ropes and completely locked down by Bruno’s relentless flip effects. Can he flip things around or is he doomed for failure here and now?

 

Come back next time for Chapter 11: Shining Summon! Yuda vs Bruno

 

 

 

 

[spoiler=Chapter 11]

Chapter 11: Shining Summon! Yuda vs Bruno

 

Up in the stands above the stadium sat Garth, Delphine and Midori. Midori was twirling her hair furiously. “I know he’s dueled Bruno before, but I’m still super worried about him.”

Garth ran his hair through his pompadour. “Please. Yuda made it through my Trap Deck just fine, a couple of stage-magic hacks aren’t enough to take him on.”

Non, non, I disagree.” Delphine stared intently at the battlefield. “Even though Yuda is skilled, there are very few decks that can survive complete lockdown, and I sense that Bruno is only just warming up.” 

Midori nodded absentmindedly. “I know he said he had a plan, but unless Yuda does something completely unexpected, Bruno will just counter it and lock him down again.”

 

“I draw!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 5 cards

 

Yuda gritted his teeth. He wasn’t sure how difficult it would be, but somehow he would need to find a way to break the lockdown under which Bruno had placed him. His field was empty, and he had a good idea of what Bruno’s myriad facedowns were. At least two of them were undoubtedly White Hat & Black Rabbit, which had the power to Set all of Yuda’s monsters if it so much as flipped. The third was White Hat & Money Box, and that would let Bruno draw a free card the moment it appeared. The fourth monster was a mystery, but it was a safe assumption, Yuda thought, that it would be dressed in white and have a nasty Flip effect waiting for him. While his backrow may have been empty, that didn’t mean he had no traps in the waiting.

Yuda looked up to his left and his right, examining the Clockwork Justicar and the Clockwork Maiden floating in pillars of blue light. “Wait a minute.” He said to himself. “Pendulums can’t be set, that’s how I win this!” He placed a spell down on his Duel Disk. “I activate the Field Spell card, The Hands of Time!” As the spell resolved, the arenal all around the two duelists melted and shifted until the two were standing on massive gears floating amid a dimension of shifting sand and distant stars. 

Bruno looked around in wonder. “So cool, I’ve never seen a card like this!”

Yuda smiled. “Then you’re in for a sweet surprise, because once per turn I can return a Clockwork Pendulum monster from my Extra Deck or my Graveyard to my Hand by destroying a Pendulum card on my Field. I destroy Clockwork Justicar to add Clockwork Wyvern to my hand!” The sand surrounding them sifted into a piercing stream which engulfed the armored judge before settling into its normal flow once more.

Yuda held of the card bearing his trusty Wizard. “With my Scale 2 Clockwork Wizard, I recomplete the Pendulum Scale!” The Wizard rose up in the pillar of blue light, and he and the blonde swordsmaiden nodded at each other. “Next, I Pendulum Summon! Flow, sands of Time. Turn, wheel of fate. Let loose the power within to unleash the cogs of Destiny! Pendulum Summon! Rise, Level 3 Clockwork Machinist and Level 5 Clockwork Sniper!” From the portal appeared a small, cylindrical machine with numerous arms (EARTH Level 3 Machine/Pendulum 6/6 1200/900) and a stealthily dressed warrior carrying a rifle of exposed gears and springs (EARTH Level 5 Machine/Pendulum 2/2 2000/1600). “Now my sniper will attack your face-down on the middle-right!” The soldier leapt into the air and fired a single shot into the monster below, which revealed itself as White Hat & Money Box. The sniper destroyed it easily.

Bruno laughed as he drew his free card. “Still haven’t caught on? You’re stuck in a loop. All I have to do is stall out your strongest cards, and my lockdown gets stronger every turn! Even if you manage to destroy my facedown cards, I can just set them back up again!”

“Not this time Bruno, my Clockwork Wizard protects all the Machine-Type monsters I control from your card effects while I control a Clockwork monster, so I can just keep attacking. Go, Mechanist!” The little machine charged forward at lightning speed and ran over the facedown, flipping it up to reveal yet another white-dressed magician, this time lugging around a saw and a massive crate (DARK Level 2 Psychic/Flip 700/0).

“By discarding my Belle Bell, I can negate the destruction of one card on my field, then return a Spell from my grave to my Deck, and I choose Is this one Yours?!” The White magician found himself saved as a large golden bell encircled him, protecting him as the machine wailed uselessly against the metal. “And since you flipped up my White Hat & Vanishing Box, I can perform a Synchro Summon using facedown monsters I control as materials! So I’ll tune my Level 2 Vanishing Box to my two Level 2 Black Rabbits!” The box opened up to a cloud of smoke, transforming it and its handler into green rings of light. The identical rabbit-wielding illusionists leapt into the air, transforming as they passed through the rings into four spheres of light. “The stage has been set, and the curtains are drawn, so let’s give these good folks a show they’ll never forget: Synchro Summon! Enter, Stage right, my Level 6 White Hat & Floating Sword!” A ray of light fired into the rings, engulfing everything. When the light faded, there stood a white-dressed magician with his arms crossed, and a plain-looking sword floating around him (DARK Level 6 Psychic Synchro/Flip 2200/0).

Yuda stepped back as Bruno continued his monologue. “Ah, but what would a sword be were it never to be used? Nothing but a stage prop! I discard my Curtain Cretin to flip him Face-Down!” A black curtain swept in and covered the magician. When it pulled away, all that was left was a hologram of a card.

“Well, it looks like my turn is through.”

“Then I’ll draw!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 2 cards

 

“I’ll first Flip Summon my White Hat & Floating Sword, and its Flip Effect destroys one card you control, so say farewell to your Clockwork Wizard!” As the card flipped, the magician snapped his fingers, sending his sword barreling directly through the wizard, breaking the Pendulum Scale and removing the Pocket Watch. “Now then, with his other effect, my Floating sword Sets himself, and I get to add White Hat & Invisible Wall to my Hand!” Bruno set two card in his back row, and one monster on the field. “Have fun, Yuda!”

Yuda rested his hand on his deck and closed his eyes. “There’s always a way through. Even if it isn’t clear yet, the path to a Shining World is always there.” He ripped the top card off his Deck and began his play. “All we have to do is take the first step!”


 

“GRAH! Come on Yuda!” Garth shouted from his seat. “If you lose here, I’m gonna look like a chump!”

Delphine pulled Garth back into his seat. “Down, boy.” She noticed that Midori was no longer twirling her hair. In fact, she was smiling with a sparkle in her eye Delphine had never seen before. “See something?”

Midori just kept her eye on the duel as she answered. “I see that look in his eyes.”

Garth leaned over. “What look?”

“Confidence.” Midori stood up to cheer. “He’s figured out how to win! Go Yuda!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 0 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 3 cards

 

“First, I set the Pendulum Scale with my Scale 2 Clockwork Wyvern!” As the wyvern rose up once again into the pillar of blue light, the pocket watch appeared from the aether once more, swinging in a wide arc as the portal began to form. “Now, one last time! Flow, sands of Time. Turn, wheel of fate. Let loose the power within to unleash the cogs of Destiny! Pendulum Summon! Return once again, Clockwork Machinist and Clockwork Sniper, and with them, the Level 3 Time-Eyes Sleeper!” The familiar droid (EARTH Level 3 Machine/Pendulum 6/6 1200/900) and sniper (EARTH Level 5 Machine/Pendulum 2/2 2000/1600) arrived through the portal, joined by the monster Yuda had just drawn, a red-skinned girl dressed in that same black tuxedo that all the Time-Eyes seemed to wear (LIGHT Level 3 Fiend 200/1700). She gave a deep bow and opened her eyes, revealing windows to the dimension of sand and time, the same one that the duel inhabited.

Yuda raised up his hand and pointed at his wyvern. “Next, my Wyvern will destroy Clockwork Machinist in order to add Clockwork Heart from my Deck to my Hand!” The wyvern let loose a cloud of rust that demolished the machine, and Yuda took the card his Duel Disk ejected for him. “Then with the Equip Spell card Tick On, I can Special Summon Machinist from my Extra Deck!” The small robot reappeared once again.

“Next, I offer Clockwork Sniper as Tribute to Tribute Summon Clockwork Heart!” Yuda’s sniper vanished in a beam of light, to be replaced by a mechanical window in the shape of a heart, revealing behind it a dimension of turning cogs and swirling sand (EARTH Level 5 Machine Pendulum/Tuner 1/1 1500/500).

Bruno stepped back in awe. “Wait a minute, you have a tuner now? But that means...”

Yuda lifted his fist into the air. “Damn straight! I tune my Level 5 Clockwork Heart to my Level 3 Clockwork Machinist!” The window burst into five green rings of light and surrounded the small droid, which changed into three spheres of bright white light. A massive ray of light illuminated the field. “My tired mechanical heart will beat until this all disappears: Synchro Summon! Come forth, Level 8 Clockwork Bombardier!” As the light faded, the field was dominated by a massive warrior, carrying a thick shield in his left hand, and in his right a long barrel attached to a thick drum of ammunition closer in size to grenades than to bullets (EARTH Level 8 Machine Synchro 3000/2700).

“I activate my Facedown, Now You See Me…!” The facedown on his field fizzled with electricity. The red-skinned devil on Yuda’s Field began swinging her forked tail in front of her, sending out a spiraling wave which kept the facedown from flipping up. “What gives?”

Yuda explained. “During the turn she’s Pendulum Summoned, neither of us can activate the effects of Set cards.” He pointed his finger at his opponent. “And since you control no face-up monsters, monsters I control can attack directly! Go Bombardier!” The soldier knelt down and fired a slew of metal slugs at Bruno’s feet, knocking him into the air. “And since Bombardier has successfully attacked you, you take damage equal to the combined attack strength of the non-tuners I used to summon him, and that’s my Machinist’s twelve-hundred!”

Bruno shielded himself with his arms as the massive warrior launched a blast of flame across the field, taking away the last of his Life Points.

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 0

Yuda Hirose: 4000

 

Yuda Hirose Wins!

 

Bruno stood up and dusted himself off as the Solid Vision vanished from sight, and without a word, he held out his hand for Yuda to shake amid the roars of the crowd.

“Maybe next time, Bruno.”

“Heh, yeah why not? You sure put on a good show!”

 

Above the stadium, Kingston watched from his private viewing room as Yuda defeated his opponent. “Curious, so even Synchro Summoning is in your arsenal?” His phone on the table buzzed. “KC SECURITY”

He answered the phone with a terse “What?”

“We’ve detected a surge of Synchro Energy in the Industrial District, as well as an energy signature similar to the one the Masquerade uses to teleport.”

“Interesting,” The CEO stood up and began to impatiently pace the room. “What have you found?”

“It doesn’t look like Masquerade activity, it’s a girl on a Duel Runner.”


 

Across the highway, weaving dangerously through traffic, a black and gold motorcycle barreled down the road at top speed. Its rider was a girl wearing a white tank top, jeans  and a leather jacket. Her head was obscured by a black helmet. The Duel-Screen on her dashboard lit up with a picture of what looked to be a much older version of Yuda. She spoke to herself. “I’m comin’ for you.”

 

Next Time: Yuda finds himself beset by one of Kingston’s STARs Hunters, while his father is paid a visit by his older sister. What is happening in Ocean City, and how are the STARs connected?

Come back next time for Chapter 12: Deadly Race! Yuda vs Slayer

 

 

 

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[spoiler=Chapter 2]

Chapter 2: Enter, The Trap Master! Yuda vs Garth

 

It had been only two days since Yuda dueled Marc Kim, and he felt no closer to being ready for that day’s challenge. As a member of West High’s Junior Varsity team, he was required to participate in a three-round tourney against the other three Schools in Ocean City. On the upside, each win was worth a point, and there were three up for grabs today. He needed seven more to qualify for the Summer Regional. He would have to duel perfectly.

He sat on the bleachers, staring at his deck, hoping that the adjustments he had made after his duel with Kim would have been enough to help his bricking problem. 

His phone buzzed, an alarm on the screen. Twenty minutes to showtime, and his first opponent would be from South High, he could only hope it wasn’t anyone experienced. Three victories here would be his ticket in, but he would still need to win four more official matches to advance.

First things first, he needed to keep his mind on the battlefield.

“Hey, are you gonna have yourself ready by game time, we don’t have a substitute for you, you know.” The voice came from a tall blonde woman with her long hair in a ponytail wearing a red sweatshirt and grey cargo pants. She looked like she was more ready to play rugby or run a mile than to duel.

“Yeah, I’ll be on the field in five minutes, mom.”

She leaned down next to him and blew the whistle around her neck right into his ear, knocking Yuda over. “It’s pronounced ‘Coach’, now get your ass in gear!”

“Yes, coach!” Yuda shot up, shaken from his worries and jogged onto the field where the other four JV duelists were waiting for the teams from North, East, and South High. He settled in next to his friend Midori, “What’s up, flower child?”

Midori stood there, twirling her emerald hair in her hand, which Yuda recognized as her nervous tic. She didn’t turn to face him, but she did speak. “Just a few more minutes to go, I heard Garth MacLaine is on South High’s JV team this year, that’s gonna be bad news for whoever ends up dueling him.”

Yuda shrugged. “With your luck, it’s gonna wind up being me.”

The two shared a quick nervous laugh and returned to standing in uneasy silence as the other three teams filed in one at a time. The four coaches and two referees took a moment to introduce the teams to the audience. Yuda noted that half the stadium seats were filled, mostly with family members of the participants, which made sense, it wasn’t a big stadium and most certainly not a major event. 

Yuda knew from playing in the interscholastic league this last year that each round would be Academy vs Academy, working down the list, so that each of the five members on each team would only duel one player from the other three. He kept himself locked in his own thoughts until he heard his name come up: “Lane four: Hirose Yuda versus Garth MacLaine!”

“Crap,” Yuda muttered as he took to his assigned lane.

There he was, the illustrious Garth. His hair was bright red and slicked up into the biggest animesque cowlick Yuda had ever seen. He was standing with his chest out and his red and yellow school jacket open over a black tee. He was, of course, the first to speak. “So it’s you then, some nobody I’ve never heard of before? Tell me, how many championships have you won?”

Yuda didn’t let it get to him. Trash talk was tradition in these things, it wouldn’t be poor sportsmanship to brag a little before a duel. “I won a Little League when I was eight,” he joked.

Garth laughed, “Then you may be impressed to know that I was reigning champion of the regional Junior Youth division for all three years of middle school!” He loaded his deck and activated the Neon pink blade of his Metallic Golden Duel Disk. “So don’t make me go easy on you!”

Yuda Activated his Matte Black Disk, summoning a Purple beam of Solid Vision. “I don’t care about your record, right now there’s only one duel that matters.”

“Oho? Then show me what East High can do, little man!”

“Duel!”

 

DUEL

Yuda Hirose: 4000 5 cards

Garth MacLaine: 4000 5 cards

 

Yuda’s Display indicated that he would take the second turn, and he refused to waste it. Regardless of Garth’s illustrious history, Yuda needed to beat him, and that meant he would need to play heavily offensive. He looked at his hand and formulated a plan while he waited for his opponent to decide on a move.

“Uh hello? I said it’s your turn!”

Yuda looked up from his hand to see that Garth’s was completely empty, and on his field were 5 Facedowns. “Oh no, this cannot be good for me.”

“It’s not, I assure you, now play.” Garth yelled out, his excitement almost contagious.

Yuda drew, and immediately took two cards from his hand and announced his play. “Using my Scale 6 Clockwork Maiden and my Scale 7 Clockwork Retainer, I set the Pendulum Scales!” The familiar junky automaton appeared, joined by a young woman with long brown hair brandishing a tarnished metal sword whose crossguard and handguard consisted of a gearlike design.

“Scale six and seven, huh? You won’t summon anything that way! I activate the continuous Trap Card Hidden Magristrate! With it, you have to discard a Card, and then it gets special summoned as a monster!” Yuda discarded his second copy of Maiden, and watched as a dark-skinned man wearing regal robes and holding a thick book that read “LAW” rose from the ground, glaring with his yellow eyes at the young Duelist. (FIRE Spellcaster Level 3 1200/1200)

“Okay, no biggie. I’ll just-”

“And in response to the Special Summoning of Hidden Magistrate, I activate the Continuous Trap card Imperial Custom, allowing other Traps I control to be immune to destruction.” A card flipped up, depicting an ancient ruler explaining a law to his vassal.

Yuda stood in silence for a moment before asking “You done yet?”

Garth smiled, “For now.”

“While I possess no Clockwork monsters, Retainer has a Pendulum Scale of 8!” As before, the mechanical mess’ eyes lit up golden as its scale increased, seemingly determined to summon its allies.

The Pocket Watch in the air began to swing, “Turn, Wheel of fate! Bridge the distance between Time and Space and show me the wheels of Destiny: Pendulum Summon! Here we go, Level seven: Clockwork Wizard and Clockwork Wyvern!” The two familiar mechanical creatures took the stage as an arc of light sailed overhead, but it was no sooner than had they been summoned that Garth responded. “I’m afraid my Torrential Tribute will have none of your Pendulum Shenanigans today!” A wave of water erupted from the fourth facedown and the Clockwork monsters were swept away, but Imperial Custom’s effect protected the other Trap/Monsters from their destruction.

“But first, in response to the resolution of my card effect, I activate Trap Surgeon, with this I can Special Summon a Continuous Trap I have active as a monster!” The ruler of Imperial custom emerged from the card art, and yawned, holding up his decree with a passive smile. (FIRE Fiend Level 2 0/0)

“And then, Trap Surgeon Special Summons himself!” A white-haired man in a stained lab-coat emerged from the card, eyes obscured by highly mechanical goggles and brandishing a scalpel and a knife. (FIRE Psychic Level 2 300/300)

With his Pendulum Summon for the turn used up and his field empty, Yuda was quickly running out of options. “I discard Clockwork Justicar to Special Summon Clockwork Wizard from my Extra Deck.” Once more, the mechanical magician took to the field, brandishing his odd assortment of floating gears and cogs.

“I activate a Continuous Trap card!”

Yuda threw his arms up, “Of course you do, which is it now?”

“Oh just something I like to call Spell-Eyes Trap Dragon! First it negates the effects of all Special Summoned monsters you control for the remainder of this turn, and since Clockwork Wizard technically hasn’t finished summoning yet, its negation effect can’t activate!” Indeed, just as Garth said, the wizard’s orbs stopped moving entirely, and the Wizard was bound in a magical circle of ancient letters. “Then it gets Special Summoned, baby!” A great dragon with teal eyes and magenta scales emerged from the ground, stood up on its hind legs and roared into the sky. (FIRE Dragon Level 8 3000/2500)

“And you just know there’s more in store when I draw my next card!”

Yuda was growing tired of this Trap nonsense.He wanted to end this, quickly. But his hand was empty, and his opponent was very well defended. He had no choice but to pass the turn, but first, he could at least deal some damage. “You left your Imperial Custom in attack position, which means I can destroy it, go, Clockwork Wizard!” The Wizard lunged forward and slashed at the Emperor with his staff, ending the royal decree and dealing a hefty 2500 points in damage to Garth. “Your turn.”

 

DUEL

Yuda Hirose: 4000 0 cards

Garth MacLaine: 1500 1 card

 

“This is what I get for not testing my new build…” Garth drew his card with gusto and immediately set it. “Now, I will enter the Battle Phase, Spell-Eyes Trap Dragon, crush his Wizard!” The Dragon obliged, spewing multicolored magical flames over the battlefield until nothing remained of the Wizard, with the remaining 500 point difference coming out of Yuda’s Life Points. The attack was quickly followed up by attacks from the other two monsters, an additional 300. And then 1200 damage. “Turn End.”

 

DUEL

Yuda Hirose: 2000 1 card

Garth MacLaine: 1500 0 cards

 

Yuda drew his card, unsure of how to compete. Garth’s monsters had the glaring weakness of being susceptible to any form of removal, but that Facedown had him worried. “Let’s leave this up to the Hand of Fate then! I activate Clockwork Advance, with this Spell Card, I send 1 Clockwork Pendulum Monster from my Deck to my Extra Deck, in exchange for giving up my Normal Summon this turn. I send Clockwork Pixie.” The tiny fairy made the trip between Decks and Yuda pulled out a card from his Graveyard. “Next, with the power of the second Clockwork Maiden in my Grave, I can destroy two Pendulum card in my scales to add her to my Hand!” The Maiden and the Machine both Shattered as the Second Maiden, this one with auburn hair, returned to Yuda’s Hand.

“Finally, I activate the effect of Clockwork Pixie: by shuffling her into the Deck, I can do the same to as many other Extra Deck Clockwork monsters as I want and draw one for each! I return Wyvern, Wizard, Retainer, and Maiden to the Deck, and draw four cards!”

With his setup complete, Yuda activated his final spell “Twin Twisters will destroy your Facedown!” The funnel cloud descended, and wiped away a hidden Solemn Judgement. Yuda silently thanked his lucky stars that he thought to get rid of it. With the field clear of any obstacles, it was time to finish the battle.

“With my Scale 2 Clockwork Wizard and Scale 6 Clockwork Maiden, I set the Pendulum Scale!” The two guardians rose together inside pillars of light as the pocket watch appeared and began to swing anew. “Turn, Wheel of fate! Bridge the distance between Time and Space and show me how the wheels of Destiny never stop: Pendulum Summon! Here we go, Level 5 Clockwork Golem!” The Mechanical Giant rose from the Swirling Vortex once more, and leveled its rocket fist at Spell-Eyes. “You should know, whenever Golem is Special Summoned, he destroys a Spell or Trap, and that includes your Dragon!” Its mighty fist sailed through the air, destroying the beast in a massive explosion. After the dust cleared, the Golem quickly closed the distance with Trap Surgeon, and crushed its measly 300 ATK under its die-cast boot.

 

DUEL

Yuda Hirose: 2000 1 card

Garth MacLaine: 0 0 cards

 

VICTORY Yuda Hirose

 

As the holograms went away, Yuda approached his fallen opponent and offered him a hand up. Garth took it gladly, quickly wiping the disappointment from his face. He pulled Yuda in close and said to him “Nobody beats me that easily.”

Yuda responded seriously, “Well it wasn’t easy.”

The two stared at each other for a moment, but eventually Garth began to laugh out loud “This means you’re my rival from now on, so you had better qualify for the championships.” He turned his back to Yuda and walked off to prepare for round two. “Wouldn’t do at all for my rival to lose before I get my shot at a rematch.”

As Garth walked away, Midori approached Yuda, “Uhh… did the two of you know each other?”

Yuda shook his head. “You know, I think he fancies himself a Shonen protagonist.”

“That sounds like it could be annoying.”

“I dunno, I think I like having a rival.” Yuda looked out to the other duels, some of which were still wrapping up. “Who’s next?”


 

Next Time: Yuda’s second duel is against West High’s Xyz prodigy. Does he have what it takes to measure up against her Ocean of high-ranked assassins?

 

Come back for Chapter 3: Force of the Falling Butterfly! Yuda vs Delphine

 

 

 

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[spoiler=Chapter 3]

Chapter 3: Force of the Falling Butterfly! Yuda vs Delphine

 

With round one out of the way, Yuda returned to center court where the referees were waiting. Once all of the first round duels were up, they began to list off names for round two. Yuda waited patiently to hear his name, “Lane four: Hirose Yuda versus Delphine Marchand.”

He took to the field, met by a girl with short aqua hair, wearing a black dress shirt and pants, and even sporting a white tie. “Good afternoon, Yuda” she said politely.

“Uh, hello.” Yuda activated his duel disk, too nervous about his points to worry about socializing. His opponent responded in kind, activating her teal Duel Disk with a deep blue tray.

“I suppose we should get started, mon amie. But you should know I do not lose.” Delphine drew her starting hand and gave Yuda a playful wink.

Yuda drew his five cards. “That’s what they all say.”

“Duel!”

 

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 4000 5 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 5 cards

 

“I’ll have the first turn!” Yuda carefully looked over his hand. He had the right scales for an early Pendulum Summon, but no traps. Defending himself with monsters only would be difficult, but he hoped not impossible. He set two cards onto his tray. “With my scale 2 Clockwork Wizard and scale 6 Clockwork Pixie, I set the Pendulum Scale!” The mechanically dressed wizard and the tiny, inept fairy rose into the sky, surrounded by the pale blue light as the pocket watch appeared in the sky just as it had before, and just as it had before it began to swing. “Turn, Wheel of fate! Bridge the distance between Time and Space and show me the wheels of Destiny: Pendulum Summon! Come out, Level 5 Clockwork Golem, and Level 3 Clockwork Mechanist!” The massive golem rose up out of the portal (EARTH Machine Level 5 Scale 2/2 1800/1200), joined by a new companion: a short, wheeled robot with a cylindrical body and a number of tarnished metal arms. (EARTH Machine Level 3 Scale 6/6 1200/900)

The golem leveled its fist at the fairy who, once again, cowered vainly in an attempt to escape the imminent fist. “When I Special Summon Golem, I have to destroy a Spell or Trap, even if I have the only ones on the field.” The mechanical arm launched, pulverizing the fairy and causing the pocket watch to fade away again. “Next, since Pixie was destroyed while it was in the Pendulum scale, I can add Clockwork Sniper to my hand.” He drew a card from his deck, and played a different one from his hand. “I’ll recomplete the Pendulum Scale with the Scale 6 Clockwork Maiden.” In the left pillar, the  auburn-haired swordswoman rose up, keeping her clockwork blade at her side. The pocket watch reappeared once more, perfectly still as it ticked. “Finally, I Tribute my Golem to Tribute Summon Clockwork Sniper.” The Golem vanished into a portal of light, and in its place emerged a slim figure wrapped in bandages and scarves, holding a long brass-colored rifle made of exposed, highly complex clockwork machinery.  (EARTH Machine Level 5 Scale 2/2 2000/1600) “It’s your turn.”

 

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 4000 6 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 1 card

 

Delphine drew her card and smiled. “Impressive, mon amie, but anyone can luck out with a pendulum deck, show me you know how to use it properly. I activate the Continuous Spell: Wingrays - Retreat.” On the field, the holographic image of a spell depicting several Manta Ray-like creatures swimming into the background appeared. “With this, I can discard a card once per turn to add a Wingrays from my Deck to my Hand. I discard Wingrays - Ghost Gill and add Wingrays - Guilty Gill to my hand.” The duelist discarded her card and took the card that her Duel Disk ejected for her. “Next, since you have more monsters than me, I can Normal Summon this card without a Tribute: Wingrays - Twin Manta.” A portal appeared on the floor, and from it swam out a curious dark blue ray with four flippers and two tails and mouths. On its forehead it had a red sigil, a stylized, almost tribal representation of the shape of a manta. (WATER Sea-Serpent Level 6 900/700).

Yuda made a mental note to keep an eye on it’s attack value. “Not much of a fighter, is it?” He asked.

“Oh, but it’s not his strength you need to worry about, Wingrays school together. I discard Wingrays - Guilty Gill to Special Summon from my Graveyard Wingrays - Ghost Gill.” A translucent blue manta swam out onto the field, bearing the same sigil on its forehead as the Twin Manta before it. (WATER Sea-Serpent Level 6 0/0) “And when he is special summoned, I can Special Summon any wingrays from my Deck. I choose Wingrays - Mantra Manta.” One more blue ray appeared, this time it looked mostly normal, but its tail was glowing a sickening green. (WATER Sea-Serpent Level 6 1500/1500)

The blue duelist held up her hand as her three monsters transformed into beams of azure light, and flew up into a vortex in the sky. “Using my level 6 Ghost Gill, Twin Manta, and Mantra Manta I construct the overlay network.” The vortex began to glow and expand, and a large beam of light shot back out onto the field. “Denizens of the Deep, though apart you are weak, together you form the rage of the mighty seas: Xyz Summon! Come forth, Rank 6 Wingrays - Rising Butterfly!” The beam of light transformed into a massive Manta ray, dark blue on top and black on the bottom, with colorful pastel patterns on each of its flippers. Around its body, three orbs of blue light orbited slowly. (WATER Sea-Serpent Xyz OLU 3 Rank 6 1000/1000) 

“Furthermore, I activate the Spell Card Pot of Population. With this, I can destroy as many Face up cards as I control, and draw one card for each, and I choose to destroy Rising Butterfly.” A massive red jar depicting an ugly, greedy face enclosed the manta and began to crack. “And when a Wingrays I control is about to be destroyed, Rising Butterfly can detach an overlay unit to negate that destruction.” 

Yuda watched as the Pot was destroyed and one of the orbs surrounding the Manta vanished into its body. “But why bother? If Rising Butterfly isn’t destroyed, you can’t draw a card.”

Delphine held up her finger. “Tsk tsk, never assume your opponent has no plan. When I negate the destruction of a Wingrays with Butterfly’s effect, I can increase its ATK by 1000, and destroy one card you control.” The massive ray’s eyes flashed red as it charged straight into the Wizard, demolishing him entirely. “Now I enter the Battle Phase: Rising Butterfly, attack that Sniper!.”

Yuda waved his hand in front of him, “When a Clockwork monster I control battles, Mechanist can increase its ATK by 1200, in exchange for neither player taking damage from the battle.” The small, multi-armed droid took a moment to polish and oil the sniper, who immediately raised its gun and fired at the charging ray with 3200 points of power.

“And yet, I can detach a second overly unit to protect my monster from destruction again, raising its attack value again and destroying your Clockwork Maiden!” The ray consumed the second of the three orbs and fired a beam of light at the swordmaiden, destroying her. “Now, I set two cards and end my turn.”

Yuda scowled. “At the end of the battle phase, Mechanist’s effect wears off.” He noted that the Ray’s attack remained boosted.

 

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 4000 0 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 2 cards

 

As the holographic Facedowns entered play, Yuda drew his card. He was in a bind. The next time he wanted to destroy that monster, it would shoot its ATK up to four-thousand, and not to mention those facedowns were bad news. He would need a plan, and quickly.

Delphine flipped up one of her Facedown cards. “I activate Jar of Distribution. With this, as long as you have cards in hand and I do not, you must discard one card, and I must draw one.”

Yuda scowled, but nonetheless discarded. “Now I activate the effect of Clockwork Halt, that trap you made me discard. By discarding one Clockwork Pendulum card, I can set it to the field.” Yuda discarded his last remaining card. “Clockwork Sniper will attack Wingrays - Rising Butterfly, and I activate the effect of Clockwork Mechanist, raising his ATK to thirty-two hundred!”

The ray consumed its last overlay unit, negating its destruction and increasing ats ATK to four-thousand.

“I end my turn.”

 

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 0 cards

 

“It is time to end this, but it was fun while it lasted. I activate my other Facedown card, Wingrays - Regroup. Since I have an Xyz monster with no overlay units left, I can add Rank-Down-Magic: Fade Force to my hand.”

“Rank-Down?” Yuda exclaimed.

Delphine winked playfully again. “Rising Butterfly will attack sniper!” The massive beast lunged for the machine soldier with bloodlust in its eyes.

“I activate the effect of Clockwork Halt, negating the effect of one monster on the Field, and that means your Butterfly’s attack returns to normal.” The colors of the manta began to fade away, and the sniper fired his gun, the bullet connecting with but not destroying its target.

“My apologies, mon amie, but since you activated an effect while my Wingrays Xyz monster was battling, I can activate the quick-play spell, Rank-Down-Magic: Fade Force in my hand.” Her monster began to glow brightly blue as it launched itself into another swirling vortex. “Striking Beauty of the Deep, surrender yourself to the power of the Sea, and emerge anew: Rank-Down Xyz Change! Descend: Rank 5 Wingrays - Fading Butterfly.” A much larger ray appeared in place of the other, almost identical, but it appeared to be partially translucent, and constantly fading in and out of visible sight. (WATER Sea-Serpent Xyz OLU 1 Rank 5 1000/1000) 

“Now my Fading Butterfly will attack your Machinist!” The large manta lunged toward the small droid, opening its mouth to swallow the robot.

“When a Clockwork monster battles, Clockwork Machinist can increase its ATK by twelve-hundred and negate the battle damage!” The small machine began to polish itself and tighten its screws. When it was done, it flexed its mechanical appendages comically.

Delhpine winked again “Apologies, but when you activate a card effect, Fading Butterfly can consume one overlay unit to negate it, and drain its attack and defense values too!” The monstrous serpent began to solidify until it was completely visible, and the mechanical helper faded until it was almost gone, only for the giant ray to swallow it whole, and then batter Yuda with its stolen attack points. “I set two cards and end my turn.”

 

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 4000 0 cards

Yuda Hirose: 2100 1 card

 

Yuda drew his card, and didn’t like what he saw. His only option left, once again, was luck. “I activate the effect of Clockwork Pixie in my Extra Deck. I shuffle her, as well as Maiden and Machinist into my Deck, and draw two cards.” Yuda took two cards from his deck and assessed the situation. Wizard was in his Extra Deck, but without Retainer he had no method of summoning it. Golem was also in his Extra Deck, which meant that as long as he could set the Scales, he would have a chance. “Using my Scale 2 Clockwork Wyvern and Scale 6 Clockwork Maiden, I set the Pendulum Scale!” Once more, the dragon and the blonde maiden rose up in pillars of pale blue light, and the great pocket watch appeared, swinging. “I activate the Pendulum Effect of Wyvern: I destroy a Pendulum Monster I control to add the Clockwork Heart that I discarded earlier to my Hand. I destroy sniper.” The wyvern blew a corroding, rust-colored clout at the sniper, causing it to crumble away as a card in Yuda’s Grave was ejected into his hand.

Delphine smiled, “So you do know what you’re doing after all, then give me your best!”

Yuda pointed his hand into the air. “Turn, Wheel of fate! Bridge the distance between Time and Space and show me the wheels of Destiny: Pendulum Summon! Level 5 Clockwork Golem, Clockwork Sniper and Clockwork Heart!” The familiar giant (EARTH Machine Level 5 Scale 2/2 1800/1200) and sniper  (EARTH Machine Level 5 Scale 2/2 2000/2600) rallied to the field, followed by a small, mostly featureless doll with an exposed core of springs and cogs in the shape of a classical heart (EARTH Machine Level 5 Scale 1/1 1500/500). “When Golem is Special Summoned, he destroys one Spell or Trap, I chose your Facedown on the left!” The mighty machine launched its fist, and crushed a hidden Mirror Force.

“Battle Phase, Clockwork Sniper will attack Fading Butterfly!” The mechanical sniper took aim and fired. One clean hit pierced the monster, and grazed Delphine for a measly one-hundred damage.

“No, no, no, it can’t be that easy for you. I activate the quick-play Spell, Rank-Down-Magic: Falling Force! When an Xyz monster with no overlay units that I control would be destroyed as a result of battle, I can instead perform another Rank-Down!” Instead of being destroyed, the monster transformed yet again into the beam of light and flew away into the Overlay Network. “Master of raging seas, as your servants struggle, descend now to aid them: Rank-Down Xyz Change! Descend: Rank 4 Wingrays - Empress Butterfly!”

When the beam of light returned to the field, it returned in the form of a small, elegant ray with a black/blue body and patterns of gold along the edges of where the two colors met. (WATER Sea-Serpent Xyz OLU 1 Rank 4 3000/3000)

“Wanna be like that, fine. I’ll end the Battle Phase right now, but just so you know, it’s more than the Face-Up cards in my Extra Deck that you’d better worry about.” Yuda pointed his hand into the sky once more and the three Clockwork creatures transformed into beams of orange light that flew away into a spinning vortex. “You’re not the only one who uses Xyz, Delphine. With my Level 5 Golem, Sniper, and Heart, I construct the Overlay Network!” 

“There’s no time to wait, this duel has gone on long enough. Rise now, and move the hand of fate: Xyz Summon! Come forth: Rank 5 Clockwork Knight!” The Orange light descended onto the field, forming into a mighty warrior, a knight in clockwork armor holding a broad sword with spinning cogs in its crossguard. The knight roared in anticipation as it hit the field, surrounded by three orbs of orange light. (EARTH Machine Xyz OLU 3 Rank 5 2400/2400)

Delphine shouted “It’s over! Empress Butterfly’s effect: When you Special Summon an Xyz monster, I can detach one overlay unit to Banish that monster and add Wingrays - Follow Ray to my hand!”

Yuda looked on in shock as his ace in the hole was struck by the small ray, and slowly faded away, leaving its floating orbs to dissipate. “No way…” With his Field and Hand completely empty, Yuda had no choice but to end his turn.

 

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 3900 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 2100 0 card

 

Delphine drew her card, but didn’t bother reading it; the duel was already over. “Empress Butterfly will attack directly!” The elegant ray launched a stream of water at Yuda, knocking him into the air and onto his back as the last of his Life Points drained away.

DUEL

Delphine Marchand: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 0 0 cards

 

Victory Delphine Marchand

 

Yuda picked himself off the ground and dusted off his jeans. His opponent wasted no time in crossing the lane to offer him a handshake. “You did very well, maybe we can have a rematch some time?”

Yuda shook her hand gladly. “Yeah, I had fun.”

His opponent winked at him, and turned away to await her next duel.

Yuda sighed. One more point he wasn’t going to get meant that he would half to play that much better in the next round.


 

Next Time: While Yuda duels in his final match, Midori struggles against her own opponent. With two wins under her belt, can she handle what comes next?

 

Come back for Chapter 4: The Synthetic Duel! Midori vs Dexter

 

 

 

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[spoiler=Chapter 4]

Chapter 4: The Synthetic Duel! Midori vs Dexter

 

There was a short intermission before the third round of duels. It was tradition to offer the students an opportunity to socialize. Midori sat on the bleacher with a bottle of water, taking small nervous sips. Her eyes drifted intermittently across the field, not looking for anything in particular, as she waited impatiently for the game to begin. She spied Yuda in the distance, talking excitedly with Garth, and then that blue-haired girl dressed like a talk-show host.

She took another nervous sip, mindlessly toying with her hair. She knew it was only a game, but she wished she had one of her friends here to reassure her, even Yuda, for as quiet as he was. It wasn’t long before Midori was approached by a duelist wearing the yellow uniform of North High underneath a lab coat. His hair was black, short and flat, and he wore thick round glasses that distorted the size of his eyes.

The boy held out his hand. “I’m Dexter Rats, p-p-pleased t-to make your acquaintance.”

She shook his hand, recognizing the nervousness in his stuttering. He was trying to make friends, to fit in just like her. “Kobayashi Midori.”

The two awkwardly shook their hands for what felt like way too long before Dexter noticed and pulled his away. “S-sorry. I’m l-learning how to t-t-talk to people.”

Midori chuckled. “It’s okay, I’m not so good at it either.”

The two sat in silence next to each other, just nervously sipping water and waiting for the intermission to end, glad for charming awkwardness of a stranger’s company. After a few minutes, the buzzer sounded, and round three was underway. The two of them stood at attention, awaiting their final matchups. Midori heard Yuda’s name come up, a duel against someone named Stella Burner. “Definitely a fire deck.” She thought.

“In lane five, Kobayashi Midori vs Dexter Rats.”

“Well what are the odds of that?” Midori rushed to her lane and activated her duel disk, a shining pink disk decorated with stylized flower decals, with a bright yellow tray.

“Well the odds of it are five-to-one, of course but it occurs to me you may have been joking.” Her opponent pushed his comically oversized glasses back up onto his nose. She thought for a moment he might have been trying to look cool until they began sliding back down and she realized they just weren’t a very good fit. “At any rate, or ratio as it were, let’s duel.” He activated his duel disk, a simple base-model black disk with a blue tray.

“Duel!”

 

DUEL

Midori Kobayashi: 4000 5 cards

Dexter Rats: 4000 5 cards

 

“I-I’ll start, I activate the Spell card Converting Catalyst. With it, I can discard Cataloturge - Blue Base to Special Summon Cataloturge - Red Base from my Deck.” A large bottle with thin arms and legs, filled with a thick red liquid entered the field, constantly tipping over and having to correct itself. (FIRE Aqua Level 1 300/300) Next I’ll activate the Spell card Efficient Fusion! With this, I can summon two different Fusion monsters for the price of one, as long as bother m-monsters can make use of th-the same materials. I send from my hand Cataloturge - Yellow Mineral and Cataloturge - Red Base from my field.” Dexter clasped his hands together as the two creatures swirled together into a vortex, distorting and merging with each other. “Th-the material basics have all sorts of c-c-combinations. Fusion Summon! L-let’s go Level 5 Cataloturge - Orange Product, and Level 6 Swamp Children!” Before the two appeared two creatures, the first was a glowing, orange mass of gelatin, partially see-through and constantly wobbling (LIGHT Aqua Level 5 Fusion 2000/2000) and the other was a swampy puddle from which hands and faces regularly emerged and let out angry moans. (WATER Aqua Level 6 Fusion 1500/1500)

“Next, with the effect of Swamp Children, I can add one “Fusion” card to my hand, but can’t use it this turn. I add Efficient Fusion. I’ll set one card face-down and turn it over to you.”

Midori was off put somewhat by his demeanor. He was constantly shifting between confidence and stuttering, and she couldn’t put her finger on what he was doing. Nonetheless, she drew.

 

DUEL

Midori Kobayashi: 4000 6 cards

Dexter Rats: 4000 1 card

 

Midori looked at her hand and examined the field. That Swamp monster was no threat since its ability only activated on summoning, but that slime had a trick up its proverbial sleeve, she could tell. “I normal summon Peristarmament Clover Cleaver.” A portal appeared, and from it stepped out a young woman in plate armor adorned with clovers. (WIND Plant Level 1 Union 300/300). “Now, since I have a Peristarmement on the field, I can equip Peristarmement Cattail Bow and Peristarmement Ivy Saw directly from my hand to my Clover Cleaver.” The woman in clover gladly accepted as two weapons appeared before her: a bow made of bark and ivy with a quiver of cattail arrows, and a circular saw with a handle of wood attached to a long cord of ivy. “Next I’ll activate Will of the Peristylium! This continuous spell allows me to search my Deck for a Perist- monster whenever a Perist- Union monster is sent to the graveyard. Now we battle. Clover Cleaver will attack Orange Product! And Clover Cleaver gets three-hundred more attack points from both of her weapons.”

The green woman fired an arrow from her Cattail Bow and slung it back over her shoulder, and then immediately swung the Ivy Saw until it broke off from the cord, spinning toward Dexter’s field. “I activate my Trap Card A Mysterious Smell. When a Cataloturge monster battles, it gains seven-hundred attack points, and I draw a card for every monster destroyed by battle with it.” The orange creature was struck by both the saw and the arrow, and both sank into its body to be dissolved.

Midori took the damage from her own attack, but clover remained on the field. “When a monster equipped with a Peristarmament union monster would be destroyed, I must destroy all of its Peristarmament equipment instead.” The bow and its quiver, as well as the ivy that was attached to the circular saw, shattered into pieces.

“What was the p-p-point in that?” Dexter asked.

“When a monster equipped with Cattail Bow attacks, you discard a card. And when a monster equipped with Ivy Saw attacks, I destroy one Spell or trap on the field at the end of the damage step, and I chose A Mysterious Smell.” An image of the spinning saw returned to the field, slicing the holographic card to pieces, just as a cattail arrow struck the fusion spell in Dexter’s hand, forcing him to discard. Immediately afterward, Midori’s spell began to glow. “Since two Peristarmament cards were sent to the grave, I can add Rose Whip and Daisy Dirk from my deck to my hand.” The mentioned cards ejected from her duel disk, and Midori reexamined her hand.

“I equip my Clover Cleaver with four cards in my hand: Peristarmament Rose Whip, Peristarmament Daisy Dirk, Peristarmament Trumpet Shackle and Peristarmament Petunia Shield.” Clover equipped the four weapons, hanging the tightly wound red rose whip at her side, storing a small yellow dirk in her boot, wearing a green shield with a white petunia relief on her arm and holding a scythe on a chain made of yellow trumpet flowers in her hand.

“Your move.”

 

DUEL

Midori Kobayashi: 2200 0 cards

Dexter Rats: 4000 1 card

 

“S-so you have a collection of f-flowers, I have something impressive too. I activate the Spell card Danger Draw. By destroying two cards I control, I can draw one. And wouldn’t you know it, when Orange Product is destroyed by a card effect, I can add two Cataloturge monsters from my Deck to my hand, and I choose Bunsen Hydrogen and Magnetic Acid.” As the only cards on Dexter’s field vanished, he drew his card and his deck ejected his searches. “Since you have more cards than me, I can Special Summon Cataloturge - Magnetic Acid.” A small blob of steaming, corrosive goo landed on the field. (EARTH Aqua Level 3 1000/1000) “When I Special Summon a Cataloturge from my hand, I can Special Summon Cataloturge - Red Mineral. And While we’re at it, I’ll n-n-normal summon Cataloturge - Busen Hydrogen.” A lump of some red powder in a beaker (FIRE Rock Level 2 500/500) and a walking bunsen burner attached to a blue tank (Wind Pyro Tuner Level 1 0/0) emerged onto the field.

“When I Normal Summon  Bunsen Hydrogen, I can summon from my deck a second copy of any monster I control with its effects negated, I choose Red Mineral.” A second beaker filled with red dust entered the battlefield. The bunsen burner released the nozzle on its hydrogen tank and began to fire its flames before transforming into a green Synchro ring.

“Elements of the Earth, gather what you c-c-can and add a little heat; that’s the b-basis of synthesis: Synchro Summon! R-rise up, Level 8 Denadorite Dragon!” A massive western dragon appeared from the blinding light of Synchro, scales like shining slate, and it roarded furiously. (EARTH Dragon Level 8 Synchro 2200/2200) “Denadorite Dragon gets to attack once for each non-tuner m-m-material that was used to summon it. I used th-three. Go, attack that C-c-clover!” The massive dragon lunged for the stoic girl, who smiled confidently as she readied her weapons.

“The attack of a monster equipped with four Peristarmaments is raised by twelve-hundred, and the effect of Daisy Dirk reduces your dragon’s attack strength by three-hundred. And Rose Whip negates its effects until the end of the damage step!” Clover threw the knife, cutting into the stone scales of the dragon. Then she wrapped its jaw with the rose whip. Finally she raised the Petunia Shield to protect herself.

Dexter raised his glasses onto the bridge of his nose again. “But Denadorite Dragon’s effect doesn’t matter during the damage step, so that doesn’t matter. It can still attack again after this!” The massive beast slapped Clover away with its tail, causing the four weapons to shatter completely.

“The effect of Petunia Shield negates the damage I take, and the effect of Daisy Dirk lasts until the end of the battle phase, and so do the attack boosts that clover received earlier.”

“But Denadorite Dragon still has higher attack points, so it can still crush you!”

The massive dragon stepped on Clover, annihilating her completely, and creating a shockwave worth four-hundred points. “Since you’ve destroyed five Peristarmaments this turn, I can add Peristarmament Daisy Dirk, Peristarmament Orchid Javelin, Peristarmament Clover Cleaver, Peristarmament Sphagnum Bomb, and Peristylium Angel to my hand.”

“Your t-t-turn.”

 

DUEL

Midori Kobayashi: 1800 6 cards

Dexter Rats: 4000 0 cards

 

Midori drew her card, and without hesitation played her first monster. “I Normal Summon Peristylium Angel!” A thin young man with rose petals for hiss feathered wings and long white hair descended onto the field, empty-handed and shining with a warm rosy light. (WIND Fairy Level 3 1500/1500) “Next I’ll equip him with the four Peristarmement cards in my hand, raising his attack power to three thousand!” The angel slung the Orchid Javelin across his back, placed the Daisy Dagger on his belt right next to the hand-grenade, Sphagnum Bomb. Finally, He hefted a massive two-handed sword wreathed in clover over his shoulder.

“Finally, I activate the Field Spell Peristarmory!” The immediate area surrounding the two became wrapped in solid vision, as a grand garden erupted from the ground. A babbling brook crossed the field between the two, small paths of natural stone over wet gravel adorned the floor, and everywhere there were flowers growing. “This place always brings me peace. When activated, I can add Rose Whip from my Deck to my Hand, and I’ll equip it immediately.” 

Midori finally took her hand away from her hair, filled with determination. “This is where it ends! Peristylium Angel will attack Denadorite Dragon!” The angel lunged forward with its cleaver, prepared to cut the dragon in two.

“When Denadorite Dragon is attacked, I can Banish a tuner in my graveyard to negate it!” Dexter called out.

“When a monster equipped with rose whip battles, it can negate the effect of a monster until the end of the damage step.” The angel swung its whip and wrapped the jaw of the beast shut. “When a monster equipped with Daisy Dirk battles, its target loses three-hundred attack points.” The angel thrust its dagger into the beast, forcing it to the ground before slicing at it with the Clover blade. “When a monster equipped with Sphagnum Bomb destroys a monster, I can deal damage equal to half the original attack of that monster.” The angel tossed the grenade and turned away, so as not to watch the explosion as it launched Dexter into the sky.

Dexter landed in a soft shrub as Midori continued to explain. “And finally, when a Perist- monster battles while Peristarmory is active, you take damage equal to the difference in its current and original attack values.”

Dexter only had time to say “uh-oh” before one of the large trees growing in the garden fell on top of him, wiping away the last of his Life Points.

 

DUEL

Midori Kobayashi: 1800 0 cards

Dexter Rats: 0 0 cards

 

Victory Midori Kobayashi

 

As the solid vision field vanished, Dexter stood up, dusted off his lab coat, and straightened his glasses. “Why didn;t it appear?” He said to himself.

“What was that?” Midori asked him.

“My father, before he disappeared, was researching STARs. I found his notes.” He explained. “I thought if I could put myself in a tight spot, I could get one to appear.”

Midori laughed. “There hasn’t been a STAR reported in over thirty years. I think most people consider them a myth nowadays.”

Dexter turned away and began to walk back to the center court. “Maybe, but I’d like to think we’re going to see one very soon.”


 

Next Time: Yuda has won his second point. With only five official matches left to win, he decides to enter the Kingston Corporation Open. But his opponent may just push him to the brink, and with his invitation riding on the line, will he do whatever it takes to win?

 

Come back for Chapter 5: Descend, mighty STAR! Yuda vs Drake

 

 

 

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Quick update, if anyone wants their original cards featured in a duel, PM me, I'm open to suggestions.

 

[spoiler=Chapter 5]

Chapter 5: Descend, Mighty STAR! Yuda vs Drake


 

Deep in the recesses of a stone room, illuminated only by intermittent torchlight, three figures stood. They gathered around a stone table etched with carvings and inscriptions of ancient magic in a language lost to the ravages of time. The first figure spoke to the group. “Do you truly think he’s the one?”

The figure to his left shook her head. “I know the master seems to think so, but I haven’t seen his STAR yet. What about that Midori girl?”

From the main corridor, a tall man wearing a blank silver mask entered the room. “No, she possesses potential, but she is not the one.”

The three figures knelt to the ground in respect. The first one to speak answered back. “I trust your word, Master. I just find it difficult to see the potential with my own eyes.”

The masked man stood perfectly still, completely unmoving as if he hadn’t even the need to breathe. Finally he spoke. “Go then, you will meet him in battle.”

The figure stood up and crossed his right arm over his chest. “I understand, am I to draw out his STAR?”

The masked man spoke, “Yes, and if he fails to produce it, kill Yuda Hirose.”

 

Yuda was up late, the moon was high in the sky and full on a clear night, shining down on him as he sat on the balcony of his father’s apartment. All he could think about were the coming duels, the five points he needed to join the Summer Tournament, and the unshakeable feeling that something terrible was about to begin. The glass door slid open behind him, and a wheelchair-bound Yuji Hirose passed through. “It’s late, son. What are you doing out here?”

Yuda hardly looked over his shoulder. “Just thinking.”

“You mean dwelling.”

He didn’t deny his father’s words. Instead he merely stared off into the night. “I can’t shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen soon.”

Yuji sipped his tea cheerfully. “Have you tried taking your mind off things? I know, we can play Monopoly!” His futile attempts at getting his son’s attention were met with silence. He set his tea down on a glass tabletop. “Look, I know things haven’t been great for you, but look at the progress you’ve made!”

Yuda turned around to face his father, sitting in his wheelchair without a care in the world. “I have one friend, and Midori’s a bigger wreck than me.” He joked.

“I was watching your duels today you know. I saw you smiling.”

“Yeah, well I like adrenaline.”

Yuji picked up his tea again. “I know that’s not it Yuda. I won’t pry, but I wish you would open up more.” He wheeled himself through the glass door and back into the apartment, leaving Yuda alone again to his thoughts.

“Yeah well, maybe I don’t feel like opening up.” He whispered to himself. “Maybe I feel like going for a walk.”

He didn’t bother saying anything to his father, he simply took his Duel Disk and left to wander the streets at night, accompanied only by his anxiety and the streetlamps.

Before long, he was sitting in his usual place, Pier twenty-two, with his legs dangling over the edge. The smell of the sea and the salt in the air kept him company, but he was not alone.

A blond man wearing a black coat approached Yuda from behind. “Well now, what a surprise this is. I was under the impression that we would be meeting in the tournament, but here you are. How convenient.”

Yuda jumped up to face him. “Who are you?”

“My name is Drake, and unfortunately for you, I believe you have something I want.” He activated his duel disk, a gray, circular design etched with ancient runes. “And unfortunately you have nowhere to run.”

Before Yuda could even process what was happening, his Duel Disk flared to life on its own, the screen displaying “CONTROLS LOCKED - FORCE DUEL”

“What the Hell?”

“This is the moment we separate the men from the boys, Yuda Hirose! Duel!”

 

DUEL

Drake: 4000 5 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 5 cards

 

“I’ll be making the first move, child. First, I activate the field spell Dragon Ravine!” The pier vanished, and in its place rose a sun-bleached canyon. “Now I’ll discard Arkbrave Dragon in my hand to senf Divine Dragon Lord Felgrand from my Deck to my Graveyard!”

Yuda scowled, he’d played against this type of deck before, and it was exceptionally powerful.

“Now, I activate the effect of Ruins of the Divine Dragon Lords!” A massive statue dedicated to the visage of an ancient golden dragon rose from the ground before Drake. “I will set a facedown and end my turn.”

“Fine, I draw!”

 

DUEL

Drake: 4000 1 card

Yuda Hirose: 4000 6 cards

 

No sooner than had Yuda drawn his card, his opponent activated an effect. “Since Arkbrave Dragon was sent to the Graveyard last turn, I can Special Summon Divine Dragon Lord Felgrand in attack position from my Graveyard!” Before Yuda rose a massive golden dragon, radiating a menacing aura of violence. (LIGHT Dragon Level 7 2800/2800)

Yuda wasted no time in making his move. “I discard my Clockwork Maiden so that Twin Twisters can destroy both your Facedown and your Ruins!” The twisters descended to the field, ripping up chunks of stone from the solid vision canyon. As it did, Drake revealed his trap, “Oasis of Dragon Souls brings Arkbrave Dragon back from the dead.” The white and silver dragon rose from the ground, bound to the continuous trap, but was destroyed immediately afterward by Twin Twisters, alongside the ancient statue.

“Why would you bother, there’s nothing in your grave for Arkbrave to summon!”

“True, but now there’s no risk of you destroying my Felgrand. You must already know that its effect can Banish any monster on your Field every time it gets revived. You’re too smart to destroy it.”

Yua weighed his options carefully. Felgrand can Banish monsters in the graveyard as well, so he would have to avoid using it as much as possible. Unfortunately, Maiden was already there. “With my Scale 6 Clockwork Pixie and my Scale 2 Clockwork Wizard, I set the Pendulum Scale!” The familiar magician and fairy rose up in their pillars of light and called forth the pocket watch. “Next, with the effect of Clockwork Maiden in my graveyard, I can destroy both of my Pendulum Scales to add her to my hand!” The brunette swordswoman rose from the ground and lifted her sword. The clockwork in her blade began to turn and the pocket watch shattered, destroying both of the monsters in the scales and allowing her to return from the grave.

“When Clockwork Pixie is destroyed while it’s a spell card, I get to add Clockwork Retainer to my hand!” The mentioned card slid out of Yuda’s deck and into his open palm. “Now with my Scale 6 Clockwork Maiden and my Scale 2 Clockwork Wyvern, I set the Pendulum Scale again! And then I normal summon Clockwork Retainer.” The two monsters rose into the sky and the pocket watch appeared above him once more, quickly joined by the broken-down rusted robot (EARTH Machine Level 2 7/7 0/900). “Now, the effect of Clockwork Wyvern, by destroying the Clockwork Retainer on my field, I can add Clockwork Maiden from my deck to my hand.” The wyvern spewed its corrosive mist onto the dilapidated robot, and Yuda drew a card from his deck. “When Retainer is destroyed while it’s a monster, I add the third Clockwork Maiden to my hand!” Yuda drew yet another card.

“And finally, when a Clockwork monster is destroyed, I can Special Summon the Clockwork Maiden in my Pendulum Zone, and replace it with the card that was destroyed.” The Maiden descended from his pillar, giving a playful slap on the shoulder to the machine that took her place. (EARTH Level 3 6/6 1500/1000) 

The pocket watch began to swing, signalling the beginning of a Pendulum Summon. “Turn, Wheel of fate! Bridge the distance between Time and Space and show me the wheels of Destiny: Pendulum Summon! Come forth, Level 3 Clockwork Maidens, and Level 7 Clockwork Wizard!” The two remaining maidens, blond and red hair rushed through the portal to join their sister, and the magician took the stage with his mighty collection of magical gears. (EARTH Machine Level 7 2/2 2500/2000)

The three maidens crossed their swords together and transformed into beams of orange light, flying eagerly into a swirling vortex. “Sisters-in-arms, the gears of fate have brought you together, now call out the one who watches the sands of Time: Xyz Summon! Reise, Rank 3 Clockwork Watchman!” From the swirling portal descended a young man wearing the turning gears and cogs of clockwork, holding a tarnished brass watch and a large hourglass, which was filled with sand, and three orbs of orange light. (EARTH Machine Xyz OLU 3 Rank 3 0/0) “Watchman gains six-hundred attack points for each moverlay unit he has, and that makes twenty-four hundred!”

Drake, who had up to this point been waiting patiently through his opponent’s turn spoke up. “Even if you can summon a monster with an effect like that, it’s still weaker than Felgrand. And it took you every card in your hand save one. This duel is over.”

Yuda shouted him down. “With its effect, I can Banish the Arkbrave dragon in your Graveyard! Then I set one card and end my turn.” The Magical hourglass expended one of its orbs, and Arkbrave was removed from its grave.

“I draw!”

 

DUEL

Drake: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 0 cards

 

I activate the effect of Dragon Ravine. By discarding Brother Dragon, I can send a second one from my Deck to the Grave, and why stop there? I activate the effect of Return of the Divine Dragon Lords. Since Brother Dragon is Level 8, I can Special Summon it. And its ability also Special Summons any copies of it currently in my Graveyard, so say hello to the two brothers!” From the Graveyard rose two deep red and deeply scarred dragons. (FIRE Dragon Level 8 2500/2500) “And now, I’ll construct the overlay network!” The Brother Dragons transformed into red light, and Felgrand into yellow, and they swirled away into the overlay network. “War-torn brothers from the deepest caverns, Lord of all the dragons of Heaven and Earth, open the gate, and bring the Cosmos itself crashing down upon the unworthy: Xyz Summon! Come forth, Rank 8, STARs X Dawnshatter Dragon!” A massive winged dragon with pitch black scales and an aura like blazing fire descended onto the field, surrounding it were three orbs, two red and one yellow, and above its head was a star-shaped crown, glowing white and floating just above it. (LIGHT/DARK Dragon Xyz OLU 3 Rank 8 3000/3000)

“I now detach one overlay unit, allowing me to send another copy of Arkbrave Dragon to the grave!” 

The dragon swallowed the yellow orb, and Drake’s disk ejected his chosen beast to the graveyard. Yuda waited for the right opportunity to use Wizard’s effect. If he wasted it early, he was as good as done.

“When Dawnshatter Dragon sends a dragon to the grave this way, it can attack directly!”

Clockwork Wizard negates your effect!” Yuda interrupted.

“Apologies, child, but Dawnshatter is only affected by the abilities of STARs monsters”

“What?!”

The massive dragon fired its burning breath at Yuda, launching him several yards away into the side of the cliff. The impact felt to him entirely too real. Even for three-thousand points, it shouldn’t hurt this much. He stood up, and began to cough, trying to regain his composure. “Wh-what the Hell…?”

“Did you know that a man in peak physical condition can survive the trauma of about twenty-thousand points before blacking out? I upped the hardness settings on our disks by five. You just took fifteen-thousand points worth of force from a single hit. I wouldn’t be surprised if your clockwork heart simply gave out right here.”

Silence fell, Yuda drew his card, and then he spoke.

 

DUEL

Drake: 4000 0 cards

Yuda Hirose: 1000 1 card

 

“Why are you doing this?” He choked through his laboured breaths.

“To push you, I want you to bring out your STAR. And you will, unless you want to fail again.” The man taunted.

“What? How do you-”

“Know about that? My Master knows a lot about you. About the day your father lost his legs-”

“Shut up…”

“The day you tried to step in to save him-”

“Shut up.”

“It was after you got out of the hospital that your parents divorced. Your father lost his job as an officer, then his wife, all because you couldn’t save him.”

“SHUT UP!” Yuda screamed his frustration through his bitter tears. “What gives you the right to talk about that?”

“If you hate me, if you want to see me laid low, then bring out the only thing that can defeat me! Call forth your STAR!”

“I don’t have a-”

The world went black, everything disappeared except for Yuda, and from the skies above, a great shining light descended. He held out his hand instinctively and caught it, a small ball of light, no bigger than his thumb, radiating a calming warmth. He wiped the tears from his eyes, and the world around him returned to view.

Yuda spoke. “With the power of Clockwork Wyvern, I can destroy it to add Clockwork Justicar to my hand.” The dragon began to leak its corrosive gas, and shattered, causing the pocket watch to fade away. “Next, I discard Clockwork Justicar to Special Summon Clockwork Wyvern from my Extra Deck, and I Normal summon Clockwork Star!” A small, star-shaped frame appeared, and within was exposed to view a space filled with clockwork. (EARTH Machine Level 3 0/0) alongside the classic corroded dragon.“Now with the effect of Star, I can make one Xyz monster I control have a level equal to the level of one other monster I control, in exchange for half my Life Points. Now, I can construct the Overlay Network!” The Watchman, Wyvern and the Wizard transformed into rays of orange light and ascended into the vortex once more. “Magician from the far future, watcher of times long past, the time has come to summon a new power: a Shining STAR!” Yuda summoned the STAR in his hand, and it transformed into a card. “Xyz Summon! Come forth, Rank 7 STARs X Time-Eyes Clockwork Dragon!” As the shining light faded away, Yuda’s field was dominated by a single dragon, brass in color with eyes like gold. If one looked closely, they would see a dimension of turning cogs and flowing sand hidden within those eyes. Above its head, the dragon wore a crown identical to the one worn by Dawnshatter Dragon. (EARTH Dragon Xyz Rank 7 OLU 6 3000/2500) “Now, Time-Eyes will attack Felgrand!” The great dragons began to fire their breath attacks at each other. “When Time-Eyes Clockwork Dragon attacks, I can Negate and Banish the other monster, then you can Special summon one of your other Banished monsters with its effects negated!” Time-Eyes consumed one of its orbs, and a swirling portal appeared behind Felgrand, sucking it into the abyss and replacing it with Arkbrave. “Next, I’ll attack Dawnshatter Dragon, and use another overlay unit to Banish it as well!” Yet again, the mighty monster was banished, leaving only a negated felgrand and Arkbrave.

Drake smiled. “I know how satisfying it will be for you to take me down, but unfortunately I’d rather not die today.” The holograms disappeared as the duel disk registered his surrender. “Take care of that STAR for me, child, until it’s time to return it to its rightful owner.”

Yuda howled after him, but could barely move a muscle. “Wait! Explain yourself!” But it was too late, the man was gone. Yuda stared at the card he had, the text on it read “*X Time-Eyes Clockwork Dragon”. He knelt there on the ground, unable to move for a few moments before the card began to glow, and Yuda heard a voice, “Find the strength to move forward, and move, like the hands of time.” Beside him was a vision of the Dragon, holding its wing over him.

“Well now I have more problems. Great.”

 

Next Time: Yuda recovers from his injury as Midori and Delphine investigate the history of STARs. Meanwhile, a new player enters the stage.

 

Come back for Chapter 6: The STARs Hunter! Protect Yuda!

 

 

 

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[spoiler=Chapter 6]

Chapter 6: The STARs Hunter! Protect Yuda!

 

The visitor’s room was quiet and almost empty. The only inhabitants, besides the clerk, were Midori and her father. Kenta Kobayashi was speaking to the clerk in full uniform. “I won’t be more than a few minutes, I just need a statement.”

“I understand Officer Kobayashi, your daughter will have to check in for visitation though.”

Officer Kobayashi nodded and stepped through the door toward Yuda’s room, leaving his daughter to wait alone, mindlessly twirling her hair. After a moment of hesitation, she stepped up to the counter to give her name and information. She sat back down on the bench, trying to imagine what trouble Yuda could have gotten himself into when the front door opened to two familiar faces. Delphine, in her talk-show host white suit, followed closely by the familiar red pompadour of Garth. “Where’s Yuda? I demand an explanation!” He shouted.

The clerk looked up, and Delphine went ahead of him to speak with her. “I’m very sorry, he’s just a little shaken up.”

As Delphine handled the paperwork, Midori struck up a conversation. “Garth? What are you doing here?”

The boisterous duelist responded somewhat seriously. “News travels fast about these sorts of things. When I heard Yuda’d been attacked I started asking around.”

Midori twirled her hair violently. “What did you find out?”

“Not much. There were a couple of witnesses that I got to before the police did. Apparently Yuda was attacked by some guy in a black coat, and the hardness of their solid vision was way up.”

“It’s hard to believe that Yuda lost.”

Garth shook his head. “That’s just the thing: he didn’t.”

“What?”

“Witnesses say that Yuda summoned a dragon, and then the guy just surrendered. Yuda never landed a hit, and yet the guy walked away.”

Delphine entered the conversation. “Garth already told me what he knows. Midori, your father is an officer, what have you learned?”

“Not a thing,” she bemoaned. “It’s police business, he can’t go blabbing to anyone he wants, not even me. Yuda’s ok to visit, but not until Dad gets what he needs.”

The three sat together in silence for a long while, waiting for the interview to end. Garth stood up first and yelled. “I hate waiting! This sucks, Yuda! You’re supposed to be my rival!”

Delphine giggled cheerily. “At least we can count on him not changing.”

“I get why Garth is here… sort of. But why are you here?”

Delphine winked at Midori. “What can I say, Yuda fascinates me. I saw Garth looking around and I decided I simply must get myself involved.”

The door opened, and Officer Kobayashi stepped back into the waiting room. “You two are Yuda’s friends too?”

They nodded. “I need you to tell me something, what have you heard about STARs?”

Garth and Delphine looked to each other, utterly confused. Garth spoke first. “Don’t they represent levels?”

Delphine followed. “Do you understand the meaning of ‘tact’?”

But Midori was the only one to answer. “That boy I dueled yesterday, Dexter. He said something about STARs.” Her father waited for her to offer anything more. “Those are those really rare cards right?”

“Listen Midori, all of you actually. STARs are one-of-a-kind cards. They’re mysterious and were never well-understood. The only thing we do know is that they attract danger. I believe Yuda is being targeted by a group trying to take his STAR from him. I’m only telling you this so that you understand the danger.”

“I understand, dad. I’ll look after Yuda-”

“No! You musn’t get involved. If you see anyone acting suspicious, call the police.”

Garth interrupted the conversation. “Hey, we’re pretty much professionals you know!”

“Yuda defeated you. And now he’s recovering from life-threatening trauma. Stay out of this fight.”

The three kids lowered their gazes. Midori answered. “I understand, go on to the station, I want to visit with Yuda before I head home.”

Officer Kobayashi turned for the door. “Just call a cab please, I don’t want you on the streets right now.”

As soon as he was out the door, Midori and Garth began to strategize. “I’ll learn what I can from Yuda. Garth, can you keep looking around for clues?”

“Right, I’ll call when I find something. STARs haven’t been around for thirty years so someone’s bound to’ve noticed.”

Delphine raised her hand. “Uh, guys? Didn’t we just promise not to get involved?”

Garth ran his fingers through his hair and winked at Delphine. “You really need to learn the definition of ‘tact’.”

“Garth’s right, what my father doesn’t know won’t hurt him. If you’re gonna help, you can either search for clues with Garth or talk to Yuda with me.”

The bluenette thought for a moment. “I don’t have a lot to offer here, I’ll stay with Yuda.”

Garth was nearly outside in an instant. “Wish me luck.”

“Good luck.”

 

The room Yuda was staying in was bland and dark. After his debriefing with Officer Kobayashi, he was finding it difficult to rest. His door opened again, and the nurse came in with Delphine and Midori in tow. “Mister Hirose, you have visitors.”

The two of them were over his bedside in a matter of seconds, Midori being the first to speak. “Yuda, spill everything!”

Oui, we’re investigators now!”

Yuda reached over for his deck and pulled out a single card. Holding it seemed to replenish his strength slightly. He handed the card to Midori. “When I was dueling Drake, that card fell from the sky.”

“What are these here? Asterisk X?” Delphine inquired.

“You read it as STARs X. It’s a STAR.”

Midori read the text up and down, but aside from being a powerful Xyz monster, she could see nothing special. “Why would someone want to take this from you?”

Yuda shook his head. “He was pushing me, trying to draw it out of me. As soon as I got it on the field, he left. He could have still beaten me, but he said he needed me alive.”

Delphine took the card for a quick read. “But why is it so special?”

Yuda took the card back. “It spoke to me. Like a monster spirit.”

There was silence for a moment. “No way.” Midori whispered.

“It hasn’t spoken since last night, but I can still feel its presence, like it’s watching over me.”

Delphine spoke again. “I feel out of my element right now, but Yuda? I promise we won’t let the bad guys take your card.”

“I heard Garth a minute ago, wasn’t he with you?”

“He’s off doing his best Apollo Justice impression.”

 

“I can’t believe I’m stuck playing Phoenix Wright while Yuda is surrounded by pretty girls.” Garth lamented over his iced coffee. “Man, why couldn’t I be the one that got jumped in the street?” 

He sat at an empty table on the patio of Café Oceania, waiting for something to happen. Witnesses reported that, over the last few weeks or so, almost every day at one in the afternoon, someone would sit down at this specific table, in this specific seat, order an iced latte, and turn the menu sideways. Within fifteen minutes, a waiter would arrive and ask “Have you found everything to your liking?” that would be his sign.

Ten, twenty minutes passed, and nobody came. Garth began to question the validity of his sources, wondering if they knew he was on the trail. Eventually, a waitress came along. “Have you found everything to your liking?”

Garth responded instantly. “Yes, except for the biscuits.”

The waitress frowned. “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll get your check.”

All according to plan. Garth waited exactly one minute and then made for the back door. He knocked twice, and the door opened. “Not much of a secret society if they do all this in broad daylight.” He thought.

There was a staircase leading down, which he of course followed. At the bottom, he entered a large, dimly lit and dirty room dominated by a central Dueling Court. He stepped into the center, and the floodlights along the ceiling lit up, blinding him momentarily.

Over an intercom, a voice was heard. “You must be the most gullible piece of gutter trash I’ve ever seen!” The voice belonged to a young woman with a bubbly personality.

Garth shouted over the noise. “Who’s there? Show yourself.”

The floodlights illuminated a door on the other side of the room, and through it stepped a girl with pink twintails dressed as a waitress from the café. “Like, did you really think we’d be stupid enough to let some punk kid catch wind of our plans if we really didn’t want him to?”

“Oh yeah? I figured it out before the cops did!”

“Planted information, pinhead. We wanted you here!” She lifted up a stone duel disk, identical to the one that Drake had used in his duel with Yuda. “And now, I’ll introduce you to a world of hurt!”

Against his will, the pink blade on Garth’s disk roared to life, and the duel was on.

 

The hospital entrance opened and Midori and Delphine stepped out into the morning air. “That’s probably all we’re getting from Yuda.” Said Midori. “I wonder how Garth is doing?”

Delphine activated her Duel Disk. the aqua blade flaring to life. “Hopefully better than us, look ahead!”

Before the two was a man in a black coat wearing a simple black mask. His stone Duel Disk was active and glowing red. “Not you, blue girl.”

Midori’s Duel Disk activated on its own, displaying “CONTROLS LOCKED - FORCE DUEL”

“Delphine, go back inside and keep an eye on Yuda!”

The blue girl nodded. “Take care of Tall, Dark and Handsome for me.” She ran back into the building.

The two duelists spoke for a moment before beginning their game. “What are you people after?”

The tall man responded quietly and emotionlessly. “You need not concern yourself with the Master’s plan. Suffice to say that you too possess a STAR.”

“And you’re planning to draw it out of me like your friend did with Yuda?”

“Yes, and if somehow my intelligence is wrong and you are not worthy, I am to dispose of you.”

He said it so casually, as if it was less an instruction and more a declaration of fact. Midori knew that the hardness setting would probably go up to five, just like it did with Yuda. She drew her five cards as her opponent did the same.

“DUEL!”

 

Next Time: Midori duels with the masked assassin while Garth fights for his life against the woman from the café. More STARs are bound to appear!

 

Come back for Chapter 7: Fall, sacred STARs! Two duelists’ determination!

 

 

 

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[spoiler=Chapter 7]

Chapter 7: Fall, sacred STARs! Two duelists’ determination!

 

“DUEL!”

 

DUEL

Midori: 4000 5 cards

?????: 4000 5 cards

 

“I’ll be taking the first move. But don’t worry; like your time on earth I will make it swift.” The masked assailant looked at his hand for a short moment before making his move. “I set one monster and two facedown cards.”

“Then it’s my turn. I draw!”

 

DUEL

Midori: 4000 6 cards

?????: 4000 2 cards

 

“I’ll start by Normal Summoning Peristarmament Orchid Javelin!” On the field in front of Midori appeared a mature woman with violet hair wearing a greek-style dress made of blue orchid petals. (WIND Level 1 Plant Union 300/300). “And next, I equip her with the Peristarmament Rose Whip, Petunia Shield and Trumpet Shackle in my hand!” The flowery warrior coiled the whip tightly and held it in her left hand, to which she also strapped the shield. In her right hand, she held the chain of flower petals.

“Next I activate Will of the Peristylium, allowing me to search a Perist- monster for every one that gets sent to the graveyard. And I’ll also activate the field spell Peristarmory!” The field around the two duelists morphed into the familiar serene garden where Midori had dueled Dexter Rats. “When the card is activated, I add Peristarmament Poppy Darts to my hand from my deck.”

“Battle Phase! Orchid will attack your Facedown monster!” The purple warrior lunged forward with her weapons, throwing the Trumpet shackle, which expanded and wrapped up each of the three facedown cards. “Thanks to Trumpet Shackle, you can’t activate Card Effects until the Damage Step is over! And when she battles, a monster equipped with a Peristarmament gains three-hundred attack points until the end of the Battle Phase. Orchid is holding three, so her attack becomes twelve-hundred!” The soldier struck the facedown with her whip, revealing it to be a generic knight in black armor wearing a mast just like the one her opponent wore. Her opponent did not react to his card’s destruction. “And since my Orchid’s attack increased by 900 from the effect of cards equipped to her, Peristarmory deals damage to you equal to the difference between her current and original attack.”

The masked man was unfazed still even as he was pelted with the splintered remains of his monster. “It’s my turn; Draw!”

 

DUEL

Midori: 4000 1 cards

?????: 3100 3 cards

 

“First, the effect of Masqued Black Knight in my grave activates. I banish it to Summon Masqued Black Rose from my Deck.” From the ground beneath them, another identical black mask appeared, growing on a plantlike stalk until it was fully formed; a green-skinned humanoid cloaked in black rose petals. (DARK Plant Level 4 1000/1000) “Now, I Normal Summon Masqued White Rose from my Hand!” Another rose appeared, completely identical save for its white mask and white petals. (LIGHT Plant Level 4 1000/1000) “And next I activate my Trap Card: Gathering of the Masqued Ones! Since both of my monsters are Plants, I can summon a Plant from my Deck, and I choose Masqued Red Rose!” Yet again, the rose appeared, swathed in crimson red. (FIRE Plant Level 4 1000/1000)

Midori shouted across the garden. “Bad move; Peristarmory is going to force each of those monsters to attack when the Battle Phase begins, and Orchid will grow stronger with each battle!”

“I activate the effect of Masqued Black Rose: Once per turn, I can perform a Contact Fusion with it!

“What?!” Midori watched as the three flowers were shredded, leaving nothing but floating petals and three emotionless masks swirling in a vortex.

The masked man began to chant. “The sacred masks, mark us as one in mind and soul. We are legion, and we are one: Fusion Summon! Come Forth: Montage Masqued Rose!” It descended from the portal: a massive plantlike beast with writhing vines for limps and a gaping jaw beneath its three-colored mask, variably white, black and red. (LIGHT/DARK/FIRE Plant Level 8/ 3000/3000) “This monster gains the combined attributes, Attack, and Defense values of its materials.” He explained. “And it can attack once for each Plant-type monster you control!”

Midori recoiled. She would be able to avoid destruction this turn, but she would need a cunning strategy to avoid defeat.

“Now, destroy that inferior creature!” The writhing plant slammed its vines against Orchid, who blocked the strike with her Petunia Shield. “Petunia Shield protects me from the damage. Then, when a monster equipped with a Peristarmament would be destroyed by battle, I destroy all of its equipped Peristarmament Union monsters instead.” The shield, whip, and shackles shattered, the pieces flying toward the masked man. “And don’t forget, Peristarmory deals damage to you when Orchid gets an attack boost!” The pieces slashed away at the masked man, dropping his Life Points by another nine-hundred.

“And since three Perist- cards I control were sent to the grave, I add Peristrancendence, Peristarmament Sphagnum Bomb and Peristylium Angel to my Hand!”

“For now, I will end my turn.”

“Draw!”

 

DUEL

Midori: 4000 5 cards

?????: 2200 4 cards

 

“Let’s have some fun, first I Normal Summon Peristylium Angel.” The angelic man with rose-petal wings appeared on the field, resting lightly upon the grass with bare feet. (WIND Fairy Level 3 1500/1500) “Next, I equip him with Poppy Darts, Sphagnum Bomb, and Lily Hammer!” The angel took the weapons, a belt containing dozens of darts with poppy fletching, a canister of moss with a pin at the top, and a white and green tallhammer bearing a stylized image of a lilypad on the head.

“Next, I activate Peristrancendence! This spell card lets me fuse using monsters on my field, and if any of them is equipped with a Union Monster, that Union Monster is equipped to the new monster as well.” The armed angel and the disarmed orchid leapt into the sky to join together in a swirling portal. “Angelic Guardian, Calming Orchid. The garden gives rise to sacred weapons and gifted warriors. Now you must join together as more than weapon and wielder: Fusion Summon! Descend, Level 5: Peristarmed Seraphim!” From the portal descended a migthy angel with flowing gossamer hair and three pairs of flowery petal-wings, holding the same weapons that were held by the Angel just a moment before, holding a pair of his wings in front of him defensively. (WIND Fairy Level 5 1500/1500)

“Since Angel and Orchid went to the graveyard, I can add Peristylium Dragon and Peristarmament Bamboo Spear to my hand!”

“I end my Turn.” She hoped that her plan would work.

 

DUEL

Midori: 4000 2 cards

?????: 2200 5 cards

 

The masked man drew his card and activated it. “Masque of Jealousy will give my monster another eight-hundred points of attack for each card in your back row! Including your field spell, you control three equip cards and one continuous spell!” The monster equipped a green mask resembling the Pot of Greed, increasing its power by four-thousand and then its master moved directly to the Battle Phase. “My Montage Masqued Rose attacks your Seraphim!”

“The effect of Seraphim activates! By Discarding Peristylium Dragon, I can target one Plant-type monster on the field, and equip every Perist- Union card I control to that monster.”

“But you only have one monster? What good will that effect do you?”

“I equip Poppy Darts, Sphagnum Bomb and Lily Hammer to your Plant-type monster!” The three weapons flew away from the Seraphim, steadfast in his defense, and were each grasped by one of the beast’s vines, increasing its attack by nine-hundred as it entered battle. The vines easily crushed the Seraphim, who looked Midori in the eye and smiled knowingly as he shattered. “Allow me to explain the effects of the equip cards your monster has equipped. First: Lily Hammer deals Piercing Damage. Second: Poppy Darts deals double the battle damage. Finally, Sphagnum Bomb takes half the original attack of the destroyed monster as effect damage!”

The masked man worked out the math quickly. “So it’s suicide then? You willingly take on thirteen-thousand five-hundred and fifty points of damage?”

Midori wagged her finger sarcastically. “Not quite, look at the wording on Lily Hammer: ‘your opponent’ refers to you. Even if it’s equipped to your monster, it’s still my card. So you take the damage!”

In the wake of her Seraphim’s demise, the three weapons exploded, causing a massive shockwave to rock the garden around them. As the holograms vanished, the masked man sailed through the air, crashing to a sudden stop into the stone wall of the hospital.

 

DUEL

Midori: 4000 2 cards

?????: 0 5 cards

 

Victory: Midori Kobayashi

 

Midori approached the man, who was still moving, albeit weakly. Before she had a chance to say anything, a black portal appeared on the asphalt, and the marauder sank into it. 

Suddenly, the world around Midori turned black, and she was floating in a space of emptiness, surrounded in the distance by stars and galaxies. She thought she heard a voice whisper “worthy.” From above, a gleaming, shimmering STAR descended into the palm of her hand, and just as quickly as the vision started, the world was back to normal, leaving the STAR to pass into Midori’s body. 

She considered what had happened for a brief moment before realization struck her. “Oh no, what if they come for Garth too?”

 

With his hand empty, Garth took a moment to taunt his opponent “Well then, how are you going to deal with a minefield of Facedown cards? Uh… um…”

“Elizabeth.”

“Right, Liz.”

“Don’t call me that.” The girl’s gaze hardened and her grin vanished.

Garth grinned. “It’s your turn, Liz!”

The pink-haired waitress drew her card. “I said don’t call me that!”

 

DUEL

Garth: 4000 0 cards

Liz: 4000 6 cards

 

“When I Normal Summon Wikkid Dancer, your Set cards can’t be activated until the End Phase of this turn!” Before the two duelists, a pretty girl in a black dancer’s two-piece appeared. She had gossamer wings and the lower half of her face was obscured by a veil. (LIGTH Fiend Level 4 1600/1200) “She will attack directly!” The dancer moved fluidly across the field and pulled off her veil, revealing a terrifying mass of teeth. She blew a kiss at Garth that manifested as a cloud of poisonous gas.

Garth choked. “Damn, ever heard of a tic-tac?” 

The waitress ignored him. “When I successfully attack directly with a Wikkid monster, I can Special Summon Wikkid Nekko from my Deck, but if my opponent controls no monsters, she appears in Defense position.” Out of the shadows, a cat-eared girl appeared, wearing a cozy-looking hoodie. She looked around for a moment and, upon realizing that the field was devoid of monsters, fell asleep. (Earth Beast-Warrior Level 4 1400/1300)

“I set one card and end my turn!”

“Draw!”

 

DUEL

Garth: 2400 1 card

Liz: 4000 4 cards

 

“I activate my Trap card, Trap Stone of Legend. First, it searches out Spell-Eyes Trap Dragon from my Deck, then it gets Special Summoned to my field!” After he drew his targeted card, a large magenta stone, vaguely shaped like an egg, appeared on the field. (FIRE Dragon Tuner Level 1 0/0) “Next, I’ll activate the Trap card, Trixee, The Trap Monarch! By Tributing my Trap monster, I can Summon it to the field and Set all of the Face-Up monsters you control!” A massive warrior in Fucsia armor rose from beneath the card, and with a swing of her massive hammer, flipped both of the face-up monsters face down. (LIGHT Warrior Level 6 2400/1000)

“Trap activate, Turmoilnado! When my opponent Special Summons a monster with the effect of a Trap card, all Face-Down traps on the field are destroyed!” A massive wind began to blow through the underground arena, threatening to tear Garth’s facedowns away from him.

“I activate my other Facedown, Retaliation of Seizure. For every Trap you destroy with a card effect this turn, I draw a card. In return I must discard a card during the End Phase of this turn, and can only set up to the number of traps you have destroyed.” The wind tore through, destroying his two traps and letting him draw two extra cards. He set those two cards and discarded his third. “Turn end, Liz.”

“Stop calling me Liz! Draw!”

 

DUEL

Garth: 2400 1 card

Liz: 4000 5 cards

 

“I’ll start by Flip Summoning my Facedown monsters, then I activate the Ritual Spell card Wikkid Summoning. By tributing my two face-up monsters and the Wikkid Nun in my hand, I can ritual summon any Wikkid monster from my Deck.” The three monsters rose into the sky as a massive cauldron appeared. They transformed into black smoke and flowed into it. The cauldron began to bubble and glow as Elizabeth chanted. “Beauty and Beast, monsters from the darkest corners of human desire, give your lives now to your supreme ruler Ritual Summon! Live now, Level 12 STARs R Wikkid Empress!” The cauldron exploded, bathing the arena in a cloud of smoke. By the time it had finally cleared, Garth bore witness to a giant armored woman, deep black skin and bright white armor, wielding a scythe. Above her head was a floating crown of Light. (DARK Fiend Level 12 Ritual 4000/4000).

“I activate my Solemn Warning! I pay two-thousand Life Points to negate your summon!”

“Unfortunately for you Empress’ Summon cannot be negated. You wasted your Life Points over nothing!”

“Dammit! I activate Spell-Eyes Trap Dragon! I Special Summon it to the field and negate the effects of your Special Summoned monsters until the End Phase.” The massive dragon with crimson scales lunged onto the field, ready to strike. (FIRE Dragon Level 8 3000/2500)

“My boss says you can’t move on, so my Empress will attack!” The massive creature hefted her scythe and swung it down onto the dragon, only to be stopped by a massive buckler.

“I banish Trap Gardna from my graveyard to negate your attack and draw one card.” Garth prepared to draw his card. “You know, whoever you people are, I’m not amused. You put my rival in the hospital And if you think you can take me down you got another thing coming! I won’t ever back down from greedy, selfish bastards like you, DRAW!”

The world around him went black, and he found that he hadn’t actually taken the card from his Deck. “Hey, what the Hell gives?”

All around him there were distant constellations, and from far away above him, a single glowing STAR came down, resting on top of his deck for a moment until it transformed into the shape of a card. Still glowing brightly. 

The world returned to normal, and Garth tore the glowing STAR from the top of his deck, spreading a bright light across the room as the front of the card took on a physical form.

He glared at his opponent with a fire in his eyes. “This game is mine.”

 

DUEL

Garth: 400 3 cards

Liz: 4000 4 cards

 

“I start by Setting three cards Facedown. Turn End.”

 

DUEL

Garth: 400 0 cards

Liz: 4000 5 cards

 

“This is a joke right? You’re not gonna do anything with that STAR you called?” Elizabeth shrugged. “Oh well, now that you have that, I really can’t let you leave here with it, even if it means finishing you off!” The Empress once again swung her scythe at Garth’s Dragon.

“I activate my Trap card. By Banishing two Trap monsters I control, one of which must be a Dragon-type Spell-Eyes card, I can Special Summon it.” A magenta jar depicting the face of a furious dragon appeared. The two monsters that Garth controlled transformed into blazing light and entered the jar.

Garth began to chant. “Eyes of magical lore, Queen of Tactical prowess. It’s time to relinquish your power and awaken the strength that lies dormant within the great dragon: Trap Summon! Come forth, STARs M Spell-Eyes Ruination Dragon!” The jar shattered, revealing the flame-spewing maw of a far larger dragon. Its eyes were glowing slightly brighter than before, and its crimson scales were now covered in plates of cracked marble, making it look like something of a moving Parthenon. Above its horns floated a crown identical to the one above the Empress. (FIRE Dragon Level 10 5000/5000)

“I activate Twin Twisters!” Elizabeth shouted.

“Ruination Dragon is immune to card effects!”

“Then I’ll destroy your two facedowns!”

Garth revealed one of them. “First, my Entrapment targets a monster I control. This turn, at least one monster you control must attack it, no replay can save you now!” He revealed his second card “Next, I activate Maelstrom of Wrath. This turn, all battle damage is doubled!” The cards’ effects resolved before they could be destroyed.

“W-wait, but that means-” His opponent stammered.

“Damn straight, and furthermore when Ruination Dragon battles, he doubles the battle damage anyway, for a total of four times the destruction!”

The Scythe connected, bouncing off of the dragon’s plate harmlessly as it opened its mouth and spewed crimson flames at the Empress. Just before the attack could connect, elizabeth laid her hand over her deck and shouted “I surrender!”

The attack failed to connect, and all of the holograms except for the Ruination Dragon disappeared. The dragon roared. “Coward! You safekeep a STAR that does not belong to you!”

Garth and Elizabeth were both taken aback. The dragon disappeared before it could speak again. At the top of the stairs, the gruff voice of a man echoed. “That was quite a show, MacLaine.” He had short blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, and he wore a White jacket over a black shirt and jeans. Garth recognized him instantly.

“Seth Kingston? What are you doing here?” Garth demanded.

“My part. Apologies for the incompetence of my STARs Hunter, she’ll be dealt with later.”

“So it was you who sent that guy to take down Yuda!”

Seth wagged his finger. “No, it wasn’t me. Though I can assure you his STAR as well as yours would be safest in the hands of my Hunters.” He glared at Elizabeth. “It’s just a shame that you had to be such a coward.”

Elizabeth jumped to her feet. “I couldn’t lose the card you gave me! If his STAR had destroyed it-”

“No excuses! The STARs belong to the most powerful and fearless duelists. You will be giving yours back to the Doctor.”

Elizabeth said nothing, but threw her Empress at Kingston, who caught it in his outstretched hand. 

“As for you, MacLaine. You should send a message to Yuda. Tell him that your STARs are being hunted, and as long as you have them, neither my Hunters nor these Masked assailants will rest.” Kingston turned away, followed shortly thereafter by Elizabeth. An injured Garth hobbled up the staircase painfully as he dialed Delphine’s number. “Come on, pick up...”

 

Next Time: Despite the looming threat of the STARs Hunters, the masked men have vanished without a trace. Although the danger has passed, Yuda and his friends prepare to enter the Kingston Corporation Summer Open, where they hope to find a clue as to how Seth Kingston is involved with the STARs.

 

Come back for Chapter 8: Swing Twin Pendulums! Yuda vs Ryan

 

 

 

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Really like your custom cards. You create a new archetype each duel, which captures my curiosity. Is it possible if you could post a full description of each created card after each duel? My best fanfic friend Spectre2300 did that after each duel, something I followed. 

 

Also, would you mind double spacing each paragraph. Your work would be much easier to read. 

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No duel this episode, I won't have time to write it for another day or two. Instead, have some buildup!

 

[spoiler=Chapter 8]

Chapter 8: Swing Twin Pendulums! Yuda vs Ryan

 

In the excitement of the past week, Yuda was given little opportunity for reprieve. For the two days he was in the hospital, none of the masked men returned, and Garth’s experience with Seth Kingston was the end of his investigation. For a frightening week, none of the four friends had a clue as to when or where they might be attacked next, or who or why they were under attack at all. According to Garth, it was all related to the STARs. Yuda took Time-Eyes out of his Duel Disk and stared at it.

Aside from being a STAR, the only remarkable thing about the card was a strange foil. The card was beautiful and it sparkled in the light as he moved it around. He wondered if the reason the Hunters were after him was because the card itself had some monetary value. One thing he couldn’t keep his mind off was the notion that he was hallucinating that night, when he heard his STAR speak. Garth heard his talking too, but both cards had fallen silent. “Come on, I want answers...”

“I want them too, young Yuda.” Before Yuda could process what he had just heard, he found himself standing on a floating stone amid a field of floating stones in a vast expanse of black sky. All round him, he watched as cogs and gears, springs and hands floated along currents of energy colored like aged and tarnished brass in three dimensions, like rivers all around him. In front of him, the Time-Eyes Clockwork dragon appeared, sitting up on its hind legs with its front legs out for balance. Yuda thought, somewhat humorously, that the dragon looked a bit like a dog.

“What’s going on? What is this place? Who are you?” He asked all at once.

The dragon spoke again. “I have brought you into my Card so that we can speak in private. As to who I am, I was hoping you could shed some light on that.”

“Wait, you lost your memory?” Yuda reached his hand out and stepped closer to the dragon, not entirely sure what he was doing. “But why can you talk to me?”

The dragon did not react to the approaching duelist. “I have spent several days now traveling to the ‘Spirit World’, as its denizens call it, using the Portals you call ‘Cards’.”

Yuda wasted no time thinking about his response. “Well yeah, everyone knows where Monster Spirits come from, but why can you talk, and why can I see you outside a duel?”

The dragon looked out into the expanding void around them. “When I journeyed through the myriad realms that make up the Spirit World, I had an opportunity to speak to some of the Spirits upon whom you have called in your duels. Unfortunately, not only are they unable to communicate with you when summoned, none of them recognized me.”

“But you’re in the same archetype. How could that be?”

“The Clockwork Wizard hypothesizes that I was newly created.” He looked down and stared Yuda directly in the eyes. “He believes that it was the power of something called a ‘STAR’ that created me, breathed life into a creature that had never before existed.”

The two of them stared at each other, the static face of the dragon expressionless as ever, the young duelist’s mouth agape in awe. Finally, after an all-too long silence, Yuda spoke. “So… I created you? With my STAR?”

“It would seem to be so. Although what this means for either of us is anyone’s guess.”

“Then I’ll just have to keep doing what I’ve been doing for now.”

“I will remain here, in your Deck, until the time comes to reappear.” The dragon closed its eyes and the world began to distort and fall away, leaving Yuda back in his bedroom in his pajamas.

“I wonder if Garth is having any luck?”


 

“Dammit! Why won’t you talk to me!?” Garth slammed his fist into the wall of the food court, drawing some attention from the masses. “Gah that hurt! You did this to me card!” He had reached the end of his patience days ago, waiting for Ruination dragon to speak with him again. “Come on! Yuda can’t be the only special one around here, where’s my spotlight?”

Midori approached from behind, “Are you okay, Garth? You seem a little subdued today.” Sarcasm dripped from her voice. Garth turned around to see that, unlike him, she wasn’t wearing her school uniform. Instead she was wearing a white shirt covered in flower-shaped pins and a green skirt. 

“My card isn’t talking to me!” Garth shouted.

Midori took a step back. “Uhh… yes?”

The boisterous boy calmed down enough to speak at a reasonable volume. “No, my STAR, the one I got in my Duel with that STARs Hunter, Elizabeth. Yuda said his STAR spoke to him, and mine talked too, but it hasn’t said anything since then.”

“Well yeah, but why are you getting so worked up? Maybe it just can’t talk all the time.”

Garth stomped his foot on the ground, once again all riled up. “I can’t shake the feeling that Yuda’s having some kind of heart-to-heart with his card. I’ll bet they’re best friends by now, and I’ll be relegated to ‘plucky comic relief’ forever!”

“Why are you so obsessed with beating Yuda anyway? I thought there were no hard feelings.”

“There aren’t. It’s been a long time since I’ve been beaten like that, I forgot how thrilling it was to have a rival to keep up with.”

“I don’t follow.”

“I was on an eleven win streak competitively. I’m not saying I never lose, but I don’t lose like that.” He took out his deck and began absentmindedly shuffling. “Yuda reminded me how exciting it is to lose. I played a perfect game, but Yuda was just better than me. I have to get better, and that makes Yuda my rival. So I’ve decided: I’m going to get another eleven wins, and then I’m gonna beat Yuda!” Garth turned around to face Midori, only to find that she was too busy saying hello to a newly-arrived Delphine to listen. “Dammit! Take me seriously you guys!”

Delphine giggled. “Oui, oui, I’m sorry Garth. I didn’t mean to interrupt.” She looked around at the food court, failing to make out any sign of Yuda from the crowd. “Where’s Yuda? He was supposed to meet us here.”

“Dammit, don’t you people ever think about anything besides Yuda?”

“Well you’re one to talk. Weren’t you just shouting about him a minute ago?”

“That’s different!”

 

Yuda finished buttoning his black Polo and slipped on a brass-colored tie. On the lower left side of the shirt was the stylized image of a gear, also in a dark, brassy tone. He brushed his hair so that it fell across the right side of his face so that it fell in its signature poofy swoop, just a little higher than his right eye and long enough to reach his chin. “Dad, I’m going to the mall!”

“Be safe, and remember the tourney starts at one!” Came the response from down the hall. Yuda checked his watch. “Nine o’clock, I got time in more ways than one.”

 

It only took a quick glance to spot his friends among the crowd. The incessant shouting only made it that much easier. “Guys, I just had a conversation with Time-Eyes Clockwork Dragon.” He was met with unintelligibly angry shouting from Garth.

“Please ignore him, Yuda.” Delphine put her hand on Garth’s shoulder as he hung his head in despair. “He’s green with envy, I’m afraid.”

“Anyway, we think we know why he can talk and other cards can’t.” Yuda began to explain the events of that morning.


 

Deep in the dark stone room, the man in the silver mask sat in his stone throne, pondering the events of the last few days alongside his council; of three hooded figures. “The final piece has entered play. Yuda will follow the course of history that has been laid out before him. All we must do is hold back.”

The shortest of the three figures interjected. “But Master, I thought you wanted his STAR? Why not take it yourself? Surely your power-”

The silver-masked man raised his hand, and his subordinate did not dare utter another word. He spoke in that same quiet smooth voice. “All must happen exactly as it did before. We will appear again when the time is right. But for now, the boy has a destiny to fulfill. And this time, I will be the victor.”


 

“So, STARs can talk because the spirit actually resides within the card? It sounds a little far-fetched to me.” Delphine, having just finished hearing Yuda’s story, was somewhat skeptical. “I don’t think it’s unique to STARs though. I was asking around on 5kun, and from what I’ve heard, any card with a foil has a spirit inside. Maybe the foil is just something that STARs get automatically?”

Yuda nodded. “It makes sense, I remember hearing about foils a while back too.”

Garth, who had since finished his tantrum, interrupted. “I heard any monster can be foiled under the right conditions. And rumors from before they disappeared seem to imply that STARs users can do it easier.”

Midori looked around herself at the three of them. “Actually guys, I wanted to share something myself.” She produced the blank card. It’s frame and border was grayed out, the name and text were missing, and the image showed nothing but a single STAR among a black background. “This came to me after my duel with that masked creep, but I didn’t have a chance to play it, so it didn’t take on a form.”

Yuda examined the card carefully. “I don’t get the same surge of power from this that I feel when I hold my own STAR. I bet that’s part of the magic; they’re bound to their wielders.”

“But it has no foil. So maybe the rumor is right, and it’ll foil itself when I turn it into a monster.”

As the group chatted away about the nature of the STARs, Yuda’s cell phone went off “12:00 ALARM”. Sorry guys, I gotta go. The KC Summer Open is today. 

Delphine stood up. “Oiu, we know. We’re all going to be rooting for you Yuda.”

“Yeah, you’re gonna need to make it all the way to the finals if you’re gonna qualify for the big one.” Garth laughed. “Of course, you’re the only one left who hasn’t qualified yet. So you’d better change that!”

“I will Garth, just watch me move!”

“One more thing.” Midori grabbe Yuda’s shoulder before he could leave. “I saw the brackets online. Your first opponent uses Pendulums just like you.”

“I know, I can handle it though.” Yuda grinned. “After all, you guys haven’t seen my newest trick.”


 

The Kingston Corporation Summer Open was to be held in KC Stadium, just as it had been every year before. The crowds were bustling, pushing and shoving to get a decent seat in the stands. Unlike scholastic tourneys, duels here would be happening one at a time, which meant that when Yuda was on stage, all eyes would be on him. 

He left his friends in line to get their admissions while he went ahead to check in at the Participants’ Booth. The clerk at the table handed him a nametag on a lanyard and pointed him to the Locker Room. “You’re up first, so be ready. Mister Kingston is going to want you in the wings to duel right after the opening address.” Yuda looked at the time on his phone “1:02”. The clerk spoke again. “He’ll be wrapping up any minute now.”

“I got it.”


 

Out on the field, Seth Kingston was nearing the end of an energetic opening monologue. “...and the winner of this tournament will of course have the honor of dueling me personally for the prize of three-thousand dollars!” He was met with an uproaring applause. “But first, let’s give a Kingston Corporation welcome to our first match of the first bracket: From the West gate, an up-and-comer with attitude and a deck that works like clockwork: Hirose Yuda!”

Yuda stepped out of the gate and onto the field, waiting for his opponent as the crowd roared. He scanned the area, looking for his parents and his friends, but they were lost in the sea of faceless fans.

“And from East gate, he’s a young man dreaming big, give it up for Ryan Bragg!”

The crowd roared just as ferociously as Yuda’s opponent took the stage. A young man about Yuda’s height with hair alternating black and white. Her wore a blacki jacket over a white shirt marked to look like an 8-tile Domino. His Duel Disk was also decorated to look like a domino. “Yo, are you ready to party?” He ignited the white tray of his Disk. “Cuz this little Domino’s gonna bring the bigshot down!”

Yuda lit up his own Duel Disk, eagerly anticipating the excitement of the duel. “Hope that ego doesn’t get too big or the fall might hurt.”

“DUEL!”

 

Next Time: Yuda focuses on the duel in front of him, struggling to overcome the force of Ryan’s Domino strategy, but with his qualification for the Ocean City Summer Festival on the line, he can’t afford to lose.

 

Come back for Chapter 9: The Final Domino Falls! Yuda vs Ryan

 

 

 

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I'm starting to run out of steam for original cards, so if anyone has a deck they want to see, whether it's cards they made or official ones, feel free to PM me your requests and I'll be happy to take a look.

 

[spoiler=Chapter 9]

Chapter 9: The Final Domino Falls! Yuda vs Ryan

 

Ryan Bragg drew his five cards and stared at Yuda. “I have a dream, you know, and it’s why I can’t lose.”

“A dream, huh?” Yuda thought. “Must be nice, but a dream won’t win a duel.”

The Domino duelist grinned as he looked over his opening hand. The pieces were here for a decent start. “Well, well, well, looky what I have here: With my Scale 0 Domino Due and my Scale 7 Domino Tre, I set the pendulum scale!” In the pillars of light that appeared at Ryan’s sides, two creatures appeared. The first was a warrior with the body of a 2-point Domino, weilding a small dagger. The second had the body of a 3-point Domino and held up a long spear. A mystical light appeared in the skies above him, between his monsters, and began to swing.

“Swing, mighty pendulum! It’s time to set up a beautiful board of black and white: Pendulum Summon! Level 1, Domino Uno, Level 2 Domino Due, and Level 3 Domino Tre!” The first monster to appear was, once again, a Domino-bodied knight bearing only a single black dot on its body. (LIGHT Warrior Tuner Level 1 400/400) Following shortly after were copies of the two earlier knights, Due (LIGHT Warrior Level 2 800/800) and Tre (LIGHT Warrior Level 3 1200/1200) “Now, Yuda, you can play!”

 

DUEL

Ryan Bragg: 4000 0 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 6 cards

 

Yuda drew his card without speaking and looked over his hand. He was glad to have the opportunity to face another Pendulum user, but the summoning of a Tuner without a Synchro left him unnerved. “I presume you intend to perform a Synchro summon at some point. What could you possibly have in store for me?”

Ryan ran his fingers cockily through his hair. “You’re gonna have to just find out!”

Yuda scowled. It was obviously a trap, and he knew it, but he had no choice. There was no justification for leaving a potential Level 6 synchro on the board this early in the duel. Unfortunately his opening hand was not as strong as he would have hoped. He sighed. “Of course, that’s the price you pay for side-decking. At any rate, I Normal Summon Time-Eyes Gazer!” Onto the field appeared a long reptilian tail, colored black with an intricate pattern of bronze stripes and yellow shapes running up to the body of a man wearing a dress shirt and tie. The man gave a deep bow and opened his eyes, revealing the dimension of flowing sand and clockwork behind them. (LIGHT Reptile Level 3 900/1700)

“You’re not gonna Pendulum Summon?” Ryan shouted incredulously “But everyone said you ran a Pendulum Deck!”

Yuda answered. “I do. It just so happens that I keep two decks, and this one I’m using today is a combination of both.” He stared down his opponent and pointed accusingly at his opponent. “Do you honestly think you’re the only one who researches their opponents?”

“So what if you did your research? My Dominoes are the new kids on the block, no way you prepared a counter overnight.” The black and white duelist pointed out.

“No, but I did know they were a Pendulum archetype, and one thing you should know is that Time-Eyes monsters have highly disruptive effects! Observe; my Gazer has the power to instantly destroy any Pendulum-summoned monster that battles it! Attack that little Domino Uno!” The snake man slithered up to the small soldier, who fearlessly brandished a small cudgel in self-defense. But it looked into the Gazer’s eyes and was forced to drop its weapon. Gazer wrapped the Domino in his tail and crushed it, shattering it completely.

 

Up in the stands, Garth was too busy passionately consuming a slice of pizza to engage in the conversation that Midori and Delphine were having.

“I’m worried about Yuda. He hasn’t used these cards in a long time, and he didn’t have time to practice before today.”

Oui, he’s skilled, but he’s not good enough to use something that complicated without practice.” Delphine carefully surveyed the battlefield. “If he wants to win this, he’ll need to scrape off the rust right away.”

Garth, having finished his snack, interjected. “I’m with You two on this. One of the reasons Yuda beat me is because I didn’t practice with my trap deck before I dueled him. I was overconfident and it led me to defeat. But I think Yuda will be fine!”

Midori leaned over Delphine to speak to Garth more directly. “How’s that?”

“Because he knows that he can’t lose. It doesn’t matter if he feels the pressure, he won’t lose because he can’t lose.”

“Or, alternatively, he’ll be too worried to focus on the duel. He knows he needs five wins in a row. If he doesn’t come out on top here, he’ll have to kiss the Summer Festival goodbye. I’m sure the pressure’s already getting to him…”

 

“And since you definitely want that card back, let me explain that since Gazer destroyed a monster with its card effect that had less attack than him, the destroyed monster becomes Banished!” The Gazer slunk back onto his own side, gleefully grinning at the destruction of the Domino soldier.

“Yes, I would prefer my monster not be Banished, but unfortunately for you, his effect activated when he was destroyed! My Uno, when it is destroyed, destroys one monster on the Field whose level is one greater. I destroy the Level 2 Domino Due!” The ghostly image of Uno fell from the sky, right on top of Due, knocking it over. “And Due has the same power, so now I destroy Domino Tre!” Due fell over dizzily into Tre, destroying the both of them.

“But why? Your field is completely empty now!” Yuda demanded. “Why would you make such a dangerous move without any cards in your hand?”

Ryan smiled. “You’ll see, but you might not like it when you do.”

Yuda scowled again. “Main Phase 2! I set two Facedowns and end my turn.” As he spoke, the white eyes of the two Pendulum Dominoes suddenly shifted to red.

“Uh-oh! The End Phase of a turn where one of my dominoes fell down causes my Pendulum Effects to activate!” Ryan pointed to his right. “First, my Due gives me a hundred Life Points for each Domino that bit the dust this turn.” Due raised its hand and a magical shower of glitter rained down on Ryan, restoring three-hundred points. He pointed to his left. “And Tre destroys a level 3 monster on the field, since that’s the number of Dominoes that fell this turn. So say ‘buh-bye’ to Time-Eyes Gazer!” The other Domino simply pointed upward. Gazer looked up at the sky, not having enough time to realize before it was too late that he had been crushed by a massive Domino and destroyed.

“Not good.” Yuda thought. “If that effect had activated next turn, my trap could have saved Gazer. I’ll have to think of something else.”

“I have a dream, and that dream gives me the strength I need to push forward! This next card will be exactly what I need!” Ryan seemed more like he was reassuring himself than boasting to Yuda. “Draw!”

 

DUEL

Ryan Bragg: 4300 1 card

Yuda Hirose: 4000 3 cards

 

“I begin with the Spell card Pendulumgreed! This card requires that I Banish Due and Tre from my Extra Deck, but in return allows me to draw cards until I’ve got one more than you!” Ryan drew his four cards. “Next, I Pendulum Summon again! Rise, Level 3 Domino Tre, Level 4 Domino Quattro, and Level 1 Domino Uno!” Tre and Uno appeared once more from the Pendulum Portal, followed by a larger four-point Domino holding a battleaxe (LIGHT Warrior Tuner 1600/1600)

“Next, we will enjoy the field spell card, Wavering City!” The battlefield around them vanished from sight, replaced by a city of crystal spires jutting out into the heavens and roads paved with red and blue stones. Pendulums hung from the sky, each swinging to its own tempo. “While this card is on the field, each of us can swap a Pendulum Card on the field with one in our Pendulum zones, and I’ll swap Due in my Left Scale with the Uno on my field.” The two monsters shared an approving nod as they switched places, leaving the pendulum scales unchanged.

“Now, I can Tune my Level 4 Domino Quattro to my Level 3 Domino Tre.”

Yuya stepped back. “Here it comes!”

“The black and white waves will tower and topple over everything in their path! Rise now and show them the strength of a domino effect! Synchro Summon: Level 7 GigaDomino Sette!” A massive Domino soldier appeared, this time brandishing a towering sword and a domino shield. (LIGHT Level 7 Synchro Pendulum 7/7 2800/2800)

“Trap Activate: Pendulum Eyes! Since you Special Summoned a Pendulum monster, all Pendulum monsters on the Field are destroyed, and I can add two Pendulums from my Deck to my Hand!”

“Sorry pal, but my GigaDomino is immune to card effects besides its own while my Scales are set!”

The swinging pendulum above Ryan stopped, and a bolt of light came down and struck the small Due, destroying it. “And since you don’t have a Level three anywhere on the field, you can’t activate Due’s effect to destroy a card.” Yuda declared. “With the power of my trap card: I add Clockwork Wizard and Clockwork Dowser to my Hand!”

“So you are using Clockwork, good!” Ryan laughed. “Since a Domino bit it this turn, my GigaDomino Sette gets to stay on the field. And it’s going to attack you directly!” The massive domino soldier lunged forward, blade first to skewer Yuda.

“Trap activate: Time Out! I can activate this because you declared a direct attack with a Special-Summoned monster, you can choose to continue your attack and allow me to Special Summon a “Time-Eyes” monster after the fact, or you can choose to stop your attack right here.”

“I’m gonna keep going, I have a dream to make real!” The blade tore through the air, crushing the ground beneath him as Yuda leapt away to escape it, but the shockwave it created still managed to knock him over, in addition to more than half of his Life Points. “And on the End Phase, I can Special Summon an Uno from my Deck with the effect of Domino Uno in my Left Scale. And with the power of Domino Tre in my right I have to destroy a Level 1, so I destroy the Uno in my Pendulum Scale!” Just as he said, the monster appeared, and its doppelganger was destroyed by the power of Tre, breaking the Pendulum Scale.

Since you attacked me directly, I special summon Time-Eyes Captivator!” Before the turn ended, in a puff of smoke, a young woman with red skin and wearing a stage magician’s suit and tie appeared. She lifted her eyes to meet the gaze of GigaDomino and revealed those same brassy eyes that Gazer had. (LIGHT Level 3 Fiend 1500/900) “While my Captivator is on the field in attack position,” Yuda explained, “monsters you’ve Special Summoned can’t attack.”

“That’ll all change when I recomplete my Pendulum Scale!”

“We’ll just see about that. My turn, Draw!”


 

“I gotta hand it to Yuda, these Time-Eyes are really good lockdown cards.” Garth noted between sips of his slushie. “How come he never uses them?”

Midori shook her head. “Practicality, Garth. Time-eyes are good at disrupting your opponent but they don’t synergize very well with a primarily Pendulum-focused deck.” She explained. “The only reason he’s using them now is because he knew his opponent was going to use Pendulums.”

Delphine scratched her chin in confusion. “This Ryan fellow, he’s making very poor decisions, and his deck has no valid draw engine to speak of. Not to mention his Field spell has given Yuda an incredible out, depending on what he sets and what he summons.”

Midori looked out at the field intently. “Yeah, I noticed it too. I think Yuda will be fine. The kid’s Domino cards are amazing, but he hasn’t prepared for this level of tournament play.”

“So.... not a chance?” Garth asked.

“None at all, Yuda has this in the bag.”

 

DUEL

Ryan Bragg: 4300 0 cards

Yuda Hirose 1200 6 cards

 

Yuda lifted two cards from his Hand. “Using my Scale 2 Clockwork Wizard and my Scale 6 Clockwork Dowser, I set the Pendulum Scale!” The Wizard with his cogs and gears arose on the left of Yuda, and to his right, a new monster appeared, one that resembled a meditating monk, holding a large brass pendulum in its hand. “With Clockwork Dowser’s effect, I can add Time-Eyes Gazer from my Grave to my Hand.” The dowser held up its right hand, and the pendulum it held began to swing for a moment, and the ghostly image of Gazer reappeared, returning to Yuda’s hand. 

“Next, I Pendulum Summon! Flow, sands of Time. Turn, wheel of fate. Let loose the power within to unleash the cogs of Destiny! Pendulum Summon! Come forth, Level 3 Clockwork Maiden, Time-Eyes Gazer, and Time-Eyes Trancer!” Alongside the familiar blonde swordmaiden (EARTH Level 3 Machine Pendulum 7/7 1500/1500) and the stage-magician naga (LIGHT Reptile Level 3 900/1700), a new creature appeared. This one, once again wearing the suit and tie of a stage magician, had the appearance of a young girl with white hair. (LIGHT Psychic Level 3 0/0)

 

Yuda whispered to himself. “I have a dream too.” The world around him went black, and once again, a STAR descended onto him, its shining light revealing a memory.

 

TEN YEARS AGO

 

A crying Yuda, only a small child at this point, sat in the lap of his father. “But I wanna go with you!”

“In my squad car? Not a chance kiddo” Yuji said with an infectious smile. “It’s super dangerous, what I do. So you have to promise you’ll stay away, where it’s safe.”

“If it’s dangerous, why do you do it? Why don’t you stay where it’s safe?”

Yuji Hirose stared up at the clouds rolling by. “Because I have a dream.” He lifted up his son onto his shoulders. “I want to live in a Shining World”

“What’s a Shining World?”

“It’s a magical place, where all your fears can melt away. It’s a safe world. People can hope, and dream, and play, and nothing bad ever happens. I want to make that Shining World real, so that you can grow up there.”

“But it’ll be easier if I help you. I can protect you too! And mommy!”

 

Yuda opened his eyes as the light subsided and noticed that a single tear had rolled down his cheek, and that there was a STAR in his Extra Deck.

“Big deal, not a single monster you control can stand up to my GigaDomino!”

“True, but it’s not a single monster I need! I use the effect of your field spell to switch Clockwork Magician with Clockwork Maiden!” The two allies high-fived as they passed each other, allowing the Wizard to take to the field (EARTH Machine Level 7 Pendulum 2/2 2500/2000) in exchange for both Pendulum Scales locking up at six. “Now, with the power of my Time-Eyes Trancer, I can use Pendulum Monsters you control as materials for any Extra Deck Summon!”

“What?!” Ryan gasped.

Yuda drew the STAR from his Extra Deck and slammed it onto the field. “You said you had a dream, Ryan? Well I have one too. And I can’t afford to lose! With my Level 7 Clockwork Wizard and your Level 7 GigaDomino Sette, I construct the Overlay Network!” The two monsters transformed into two beams of light, one yellow, one orange, and flew away into the network. “Majestic Noble from a faraway place, descend now onto the field of battle, and help me to realize my dream: Xyz Summon! Come forth, Rank 7, *X Time-eyes Eon Majesty!” As the light of the Xyz summon faded away, both duelists beheld the form of a beautiful woman in a flowing gold dress holding a staff of polished brass. There was a pair of shimmering, glittering golden wings on her back, and her hair was long and wild, falling loosely about her face. She opened her eyes and revealed the expanse of Time that dwelt within them. Above her head, a bright white crown of light appeared. (LIGHT Spellcaster Rank 7 Xyz Pendulum OLU 2 0/0 2300/2100)

“W-what the Hell? A STAR?!” Ryan fell backward in shock, and the stadium fell silent.

Yuda closed his eyes and took a calming breath. I attack directly with Time-Eyes Gazer.” The naga-magician leapt across the field and pelted Ryan with his tail, striking down nine-hundred points. “Then Clockwork Maiden.” The swordmaiden sliced through the air, causing a tearing wind to strike at the opponent.

Ryan stood up, shaking as he lost another fifteen-hundred points, watching as the Royal STARs monster before him readied an attack. “But… my dream...”

“I have a dream too. This is why I duel...” The majestic lady leveled her sceptre at Ryan, and fired a massive beam of energy that tore across the field. “For a Shining World!”

As the holograms disappeared, the crowd began to roar in excitement, and Yuda stood tall at the center of their Shining World.

 

DUEL

Ryan Bragg: 0 

Yuda Hirose: 1200

Victory: Yuda Hirose

 

Next Time: Yuda’s mastery of STARs is out of the bag, and he gains an instant celebrity following. In the meantime, he must prepare for his next duel. With only three rounds left until the finals, can Yuda go undefeated and top the tourney? And what of the role played by Seth Kingston?

 

Come back for Chapter 10: Secrets of the White Hat! Yuda vs Bruno

 

 

 

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Sorry about the unannounced hiatus, I was having some serious writer's block.

 

Without further ado, I present:

 

[spoiler=Chapter 10]

Chapter 10: Secrets of the White Hat! Yuda vs Bruno

 

“Yuda! Yuda! Yuda!” The cheer sounded throughout the stadium as Yuda and Ryan both left the field. From his perch in the Box above the stands, Seth Kingston watched the aftermath. “So it’s true then, this Hirose Yuda has a STAR.”

“Not just one sir.” His secretary supplied him with a small stack of papers, a report she had compiled based on everything they knew. “Witnesses say the STAR he used in his duel with that Masquerade footsoldier was called Time-Eyes Clockwork Dragon.”

“So he’s generated two STARs, maybe three.” Kingston stood up abruptly from his seat. “Marcy, I have some business to look into, make sure the tourney runs smoothly and keep me updated on any other unexpected appearances.”

“Yes, Mr. Kingston, of course.”

When Kingston was out of the private room, he sighed. “Hirose Yuda, this is far beyond you. Is your Shining World worth the risk?”

 

Bravo, Yuda!”

“You did great out there.”

“Remember to play like that next round too.”

The four friends walked down the road toward the North residential district, decidedly uninterested in watching the rest of the day’s duels, since Yuda would not be involved in them regardless, and with the emergence of a new STAR, they had much to discuss.

Yuda stared intently at the foiled art of Time-Eyes Eon Majesty, trying to learn anything he could about the card. But the spirit within would not show. “Two STARs though… I wonder if it means something.”

“I wouldn’t worry too much, Yuda.” Garth wrapped his arm tightly around his rival. “It just means you and me are special, destined to play card games forever.”

Delphine clapper her hands together. “Oui, the best destiny ever!”

Midori shook her head in exasperation. “No, Yuda’s right. I mean nobody’s even seen a STAR in over thirty years. So why are they showing up now, and why just to us?” 

Delphine looked down at her feet and whispered “Not all of us...”

“What was that, Del?”

“Nothing, just...” She thought quickly about a way to avoid dwelling on the subject. “Yuda received both of his during a duel, and both times he got a new monster right away.”

Garth nodded. “Yeah, same with me, so?”

Delphine held her chin in her hand, thinking. “But Midori got hers after her duel, and it still hasn’t taken a form. Why?”

Midori took her STAR out of her Extra Deck. “I’m not sure, maybe I’ll know when it’s born. What about you Yuda, what have you learned from Time-Eyes?”

Yuda put his card back into the Extra Deck. “Nothing unfortunately, he’s been running around in my Deck since this morning.”

 

The flowing sand and turning gears of the Time dimension passed by as the Clockwork Dragon soared, falling down on bronzed wings toward the bottom, where the golden sands of Time pooled around islands of bronze and stone. Here, the Dragon was greeted by three swordsmaidens. “I sensed that a new STAR had been created, has it arrived?”

The Brown-haired maiden pointed behind her to a long and winding path which led away to a tall and imposing stone building. “She, like you, is without memory. Retainer is doing his best to examine her, and determine what he can.”

Her golden-haired sister jumped up and down, childishly calling for the dragon’s attention. “First thing’s first, magic-man wants a word with you!”

“The Wizard? What does he need?”

“He said something like ‘I found some ruins of whatever that he needs to see’.”

The brunette sister shook her head. “Yes I’m sure the translation is quite direct. Either way, you should see him.”

The dragon stomped away, hurrying to the home of Clockwork Wizard. The building was small and circular, almost more of a vault in the floor than it was a house, and yet the Wizard stood in front of the door, patiently waiting for the dragon to arrive. “You’ve come then, care to learn more of we, the Clockwork?”

The dragon bowed his head respectfully. “Of course, until Yuda summons me again, there’s no reason to rest in his world.”

The Wizard stepped past the dragon and led him down a long and winding path, away from the buildings that the Clockwork called home and toward a golden doorframe. It stood there, erect but empty, with nothing but particles of sand and air to pass through as it framed the expanse of space and time surrounding the two.

“What is this place?”

The wizard raised his staff, and the clockwork bits surrounding him began to turn. The golden doorframe began to glow with light, and the sand flowing beneath them twisted and twirled to fill the space, forming a swirling vortex of sand. “Follow, young STAR, and witness.”


 

“Well, my friends, welcome to my home!” Delphine presented with open arms a lavish building, a mansion on the outskirts of the main residential area overlooking the sea. The building was pristine white, three glorious stories shining in the daylight.

Garth’s jaw dropped. “This isn’t a home, it’s a castle!”

Yuda and Midori looked on with sparkling eyes. “Woah, it’s pretty!”

Delphine giggled. “Well of course! The Marchand family were one of the first to come to Oceania. My great grandfather, Pierre Marchand, helped build the country!” Suddenly, she let her face become almost comically serious. “Now, we’ll have some place comfortable where we can discuss the STARs in private.”

 

The Wizard and Dragon emerged from the swirling vortex of sand into a dreary scene: everywhere was shattered stone and effigies of strange monsters, surrounded by mountains of drab gray. Above and all around them, they could see the solid stone roof of the hidden cave in which they walked. The Wizard explained.

“Millions of years ago, we Clockwork were created for a singular purpose: to do battle and protect our home from the Spell-Eyes.” The pair stopped, and the Wizard motioned with his staff toward a large central statue, one that he recognized but which the Dragon had never seen. “The Spell-Eyes Trap Dragon which you see before us is the most powerful of these creatures.”

The Clockwork Dragon stepped forward and examined the statue carefully. “He is nothing but stone.”

“He is a Trap Monster. You had not yet been created, but one of Yuda’s more recent duels was against a user of these ferocious monstrosities. While they are in this realm, they are sealed as Traps and cannot form.” As the Wizard explained, a tall, heavily burned man wearing a mask and a cybernetic suit approached. “We have this Jinzo to thank for that.”

The Jinzo spoke in a guttural and broken voice. “When they are summoned, they leave this place, and yet in their return their motion is only temporary. I am Jinzo, the guardian of this place.”

“I am the Time-Eyes Clockwork Dragon.”

Jinzo looked toward the wizard, his mask expressionless, as though to demand an explanation.

“I’m getting to that, he is the STAR that Yuda created, the one I spoke of.”

The dragon tilted his head to the side. “Getting to what?”

“Well, you have not met them, and Yuda himself has not used them in a very long time, but our progenitors who created us, they had the power to see into the future. They were called the Eon, and they created two races. The Clockwork, and a race of tricksters and hypnotists known as the Time-Eyes. And one more thing: I found an image of you etched into the Prophetic Gears by our progenitors, an etching that need I remind you is far older than you.”

The dragon stepped back a moment, unsure of what to think. “Then my coming was prophecised?”

“And by extension, our dear Yuda as well. Our cards have been held by many, but I believe he is the key to unlocking the truth behind our creation, and the Eon who govern us.”


 

“Your duel tomorrow is going to be against some guy named Bruno Giordano.” Midori read off her phone screen. “Looks like he uses a Flip deck.”

“Yeah I know, he’s an upperclassman of mine.” Yuda answered through bites of salad. “I’ve dueled him before, so we know each other’s decks pretty well.”

“Doesn’t that make you nervous though?” Garth had his head resting on his fist. “I mean, he sounds like he could be a bit of a problem, especially if he’s faced your Pendulum Shenanigans before.”

“Well, I’ve got my STARs now, so even if he were to prepare, I have some new tricks up my sleeve.”

Yuda’s cards began to shine, and from within the voice and form of the Dragon emerged. “You should focus more on the future than the present, Yuda.”

The four friends recoiled, taken aback by the sudden appearance of a Duel Spirit over the dining room table. Yuda tipped back in his chair and fell onto the floor as the dragon continued. “Something important is happening, and although we don’t know exactly what, the Clockwork Wizard is convinced that you and I are key to an ancient prophecy.”

Before Yuda could respond, Garth jumped onto the table, waving Spell-Eyes Ruination Dragon and Spell-Eyes Trap Dragon around like a madman. “No fair! Why don’t my monsters show up like you do!”

The dragon merely stared him down until he backed away and returned to his seat. When the interruption was over, he turned his attention back to Yuda. “There is more at stake now than a single duel, Yuda. You must prepare yourself for the coming darkness, whatever form that may take.”

“You mean those masked freaks, like the guy who attacked me the day I created you...”

“No, the evils of your world are something separate, we believe. I speak of a prophecy from within the Duel World, which tells of my coming to preserve the world against an ancient threat.” The Dragon spread his wings, which nearly reached the far walls of the room. “You must continue to gather STARs.”

Yuda stood up and reached out his hand toward the dragon. “But why? What’s so important about the STARs?”

“The Wizard and I believe that the STARs may be the only way to restore the Progenitors of the Clockwork and the Time-Eyes. It is only they who have the power to reveal the truth of this prophecy.”

Yuda held his chin. “Eon? Like, Time-Eyes Eon Majesty? I summoned her earlier today.”

“Perhaps, Yuda. I’ve not been to meet her yet. For now, I want you to do everything you can to prepare, and remember that there is more at stake than a silly title.” With that, the beast vanished, leaving the room emptier and eerily quiet.


 

The sun was high in the sky over the stadium as crowds poured in from all over the city to witness the second day and the second round of duels. Yuda’s friends were already in the stands, waiting patiently for the match to begin. Garth was, of course, working on a tub of popcorn. Soon enough, the lights flared on, and two duelists took the stage. The first was Yuda, and the second was a tall boy wearing a three-piece stage magician’s suit and a top-hat: Bruno Giordano.

Yuda readied his disk and began the introductions. “Nice getup, I’ve got some cards that would have loved to meet your tailor, if I hadn’t sided them out that is.”

His opponent activated his disk as well, a black body with a golden beam. “Now, now. I think we’re here to see some cards, not threads, isn’t that right?”

“Then why wait? Let’s get started!”

“DUEL!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 5 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 5 cards

 

“I’ll begin by setting one monster and two facedowns in my backrow.” The three cards appeared in front of him, taunting Yuda with their hidden contents. “Exit, stage right.”

“Then I draw!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 6 cards

 

Yuda picked two cards out of his hand without hesitation. “I’ll start with a classic: Using my Scale 2 Clockwork Justicar and Scale 6 Clockwork Maiden, I set the Pendulum Scale!” To his left, Yuda’s armored Judge rose, scepter at the ready. On his right, the blonde-haired swordsmaiden rose as well, and Yuda could swear he saw her wink at him.

“”Here it comes…” Burno thought to himself.

The pocket watch appeared in the sky between the pillars of light, and as Yuda pointed his hand into the sky it began to swing, carving light into the air. “Next, I Pendulum Summon! Flow, sands of Time. Turn, wheel of fate. Let loose the power within to unleash the cogs of Destiny! Pendulum Summon! Rise, Level 3 Clockwork Mechanist and Level 5 Clockwork Sniper!” At the Apex of the watch’s swing, a portal opened to the dimension of swirling sand and spat out two monsters. The first was a small cylindrical robot with numerous arms (EARTH Level 3 Machine/Pendulum 6/6 1200/900) and the second was a stealth-dressed soldier wielding his rifle of exposed cogs and springs (EARTH Level 5 Machine/Pendulum 2/2 2000/1600).

Bruno lifted up his hand, which for some reason was occupied by a stage-prop magic wand, black with a white tip. “I activate a quick-play spell: Now You See Me… And with it, I Flip Summon one Facedown monster I control, so say hello to White Hat & Black Rabbit!” The card revealed itself, and emerged a stage magician dressed in all-white. He lifted off his top hat and pulled out a jet-black Rabbit. (DARK Level 2 Psychic/Flip 700/0) 

“Since the monster I Flip Summoned was a White Hat, I get to shuffle my spell back into the deck and draw one card.” Bruno did so and smiled. “And of course, the Flip effect of Black Rabbit Sets all of the face-up monsters you control!” The rabbit began to emanate a strange force, and all of Yuda’s monsters flipped face down.

“Wait, what?”

“Next, my other facedown activates: the Trap card, ...Now You Don’t! This lets me Set my White Hat again, so I can reuse its Flip effect later.”

“Then if you don’t mind, I’ll be taking my turn now!” Yuda reexamined the two cards left in his hand. Depending on what other tricks were up Bruno’s sleeve, he would have to get creative with his plays. “Let’s do this old-school! I offer my face-down monsters as Tribute for the Normal Summon of Clockwork Wizard!” The two cards shattered and vanished, and in a flash the Wizard entered the fray, clockwork staff and floating bits ready for battle. (EARTH Level 7 Machine/Pendulum 2/2 2500/2000)

“Attack his facedown!” The Wizard raised his staff and lunged forward, easily crushing the card and the monster it hid.

“Did you forget? My White Hat can flip your monster facedown when Flipped!” Before it could be destroyed, the black rabbit sent out a second wave of power.

“Then maybe I should use my Wizard’s special ability: Once per turn I can negate the activation of any card or card effect and destroy it.” The Wizard snapped his fingers and the cogs and gears of his floating bits began to turn, returning the rabbit and its magic back to the way they were before it activated, and then destroyed it. “I end my turn.”

“And begin mine, Draw!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 4 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 1 card

 

“First, the Spell card Second Set allows me to Set two monsters from my Hand, as long as I don’t activate any Flip effects this turn, so I set two monsters, and one facedown, and end my turn.”

“Damn, you and Garth would have a field day… Draw!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 0 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 2 cards

 

Yuda examined the cards in his Hand: Clockwork Wyvern, which currently lay outside of his pendulum scales, which would make recovery difficult were it to be overpowered, and Tick On, which he could use, but to do so now would be risky. He raised his hand, and opened the portal once more. “Flow, sands of Time. Turn, wheel of fate. Let loose the power within to unleash the cogs of Destiny! Pendulum Summon! Come forth: Level 3 Clockwork Mechanist and Level 5 Clockwork Sniper.” The two monsters reappeared once more, raring to fight. “My Mechanist will attack your Facedown on the right!” The tiny drone charged forward, with its arms cracking with electricity, and destroyed the facedown, revealing a white-dressed magician holding a small metal case.

“Looks like you just took out my White Hat & Money Box!” Bruno taunted. “And since he flipped, I get to draw a card!”

“Then my Sniper will attack the other!” The soldier leapt into the air and flipped upside-down, so that his crosshairs were settled on the card directly below him. He fired, and destroyed yet another white hat, again holding up a black rabbit.

“Now my White Hat & Black Rabbit will Set all of your Monsters!”

“I activate my Wizard’s-” Before he could finish, his Wizard fell into facedown position, leaving nothing but the back of his card. “What?”

“My Facedown was Hiding Draw! It Sets any monster on the field and lets me draw a card, but only if that monster activates an effect.” Bruno drew his card.

Yuda gritted his teeth. Despite having no cards on the field, his opponent had managed to keep control of the battlefield this entire time. “I end my turn.”

“Draw!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 3 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 1 card

 

I activate the Spell Card Is This one Yours? And here’s how it works. You pick a facedown you control and I guess what it is. I guess right, and I return it to your hand and Set any card in my Grave, then I can activate the card again. If I activate it while you control no facedown cards, I can draw one card”

Yuda recoiled. “But you already know exactly which cards I have on the field!”

“That’s right, so instead of waiting for you to pick, I’ll just guess ‘em all now! Clockwork Machinist, Clockwork Sniper, Clockwork Wizard!” The three cards returned to Yuda’s hand, and three monsters from Bruno’s Grave returned to his field, face-down. Then, he drew an extra card. “Next, I’ll set another monster and end my turn!”

Yuda drew his card silently as he examined the field, listening to Bruno’s gloating all the while. “Try everything you may, it still won’t be enough to stop me, because you haven’t even seen the main event!”

 

Next time: Yuda is on the ropes and completely locked down by Bruno’s relentless flip effects. Can he flip things around or is he doomed for failure here and now?

 

Come back next time for Chapter 11: Shining Summon! Yuda vs Bruno

 

 

 

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And the thrilling conclusion of Yuda vs Bruno

 

[spoiler=Chapter 11]

Chapter 11: Shining Summon! Yuda vs Bruno

 

Up in the stands above the stadium sat Garth, Delphine and Midori. Midori was twirling her hair furiously. “I know he’s dueled Bruno before, but I’m still super worried about him.”

Garth ran his hair through his pompadour. “Please. Yuda made it through my Trap Deck just fine, a couple of stage-magic hacks aren’t enough to take him on.”

Non, non, I disagree.” Delphine stared intently at the battlefield. “Even though Yuda is skilled, there are very few decks that can survive complete lockdown, and I sense that Bruno is only just warming up.” 

Midori nodded absentmindedly. “I know he said he had a plan, but unless Yuda does something completely unexpected, Bruno will just counter it and lock him down again.”


 

“I draw!”

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 5 cards

 

Yuda gritted his teeth. He wasn’t sure how difficult it would be, but somehow he would need to find a way to break the lockdown under which Bruno had placed him. His field was empty, and he had a good idea of what Bruno’s myriad facedowns were. At least two of them were undoubtedly White Hat & Black Rabbit, which had the power to Set all of Yuda’s monsters if it so much as flipped. The third was White Hat & Money Box, and that would let Bruno draw a free card the moment it appeared. The fourth monster was a mystery, but it was a safe assumption, Yuda thought, that it would be dressed in white and have a nasty Flip effect waiting for him. While his backrow may have been empty, that didn’t mean he had no traps in the waiting.

Yuda looked up to his left and his right, examining the Clockwork Justicar and the Clockwork Maiden floating in pillars of blue light. “Wait a minute.” He said to himself. “Pendulums can’t be set, that’s how I win this!” He placed a spell down on his Duel Disk. “I activate the Field Spell card, The Hands of Time!” As the spell resolved, the arenal all around the two duelists melted and shifted until the two were standing on massive gears floating amid a dimension of shifting sand and distant stars. 

Bruno looked around in wonder. “So cool, I’ve never seen a card like this!”

Yuda smiled. “Then you’re in for a sweet surprise, because once per turn I can return a Clockwork Pendulum monster from my Extra Deck or my Graveyard to my Hand by destroying a Pendulum card on my Field. I destroy Clockwork Justicar to add Clockwork Wyvern to my hand!” The sand surrounding them sifted into a piercing stream which engulfed the armored judge before settling into its normal flow once more.

Yuda held of the card bearing his trusty Wizard. “With my Scale 2 Clockwork Wizard, I recomplete the Pendulum Scale!” The Wizard rose up in the pillar of blue light, and he and the blonde swordsmaiden nodded at each other. “Next, I Pendulum Summon! Flow, sands of Time. Turn, wheel of fate. Let loose the power within to unleash the cogs of Destiny! Pendulum Summon! Rise, Level 3 Clockwork Machinist and Level 5 Clockwork Sniper!” From the portal appeared a small, cylindrical machine with numerous arms (EARTH Level 3 Machine/Pendulum 6/6 1200/900) and a stealthily dressed warrior carrying a rifle of exposed gears and springs (EARTH Level 5 Machine/Pendulum 2/2 2000/1600). “Now my sniper will attack your face-down on the middle-right!” The soldier leapt into the air and fired a single shot into the monster below, which revealed itself as White Hat & Money Box. The sniper destroyed it easily.

Bruno laughed as he drew his free card. “Still haven’t caught on? You’re stuck in a loop. All I have to do is stall out your strongest cards, and my lockdown gets stronger every turn! Even if you manage to destroy my facedown cards, I can just set them back up again!”

“Not this time Bruno, my Clockwork Wizard protects all the Machine-Type monsters I control from your card effects while I control a Clockwork monster, so I can just keep attacking. Go, Mechanist!” The little machine charged forward at lightning speed and ran over the facedown, flipping it up to reveal yet another white-dressed magician, this time lugging around a saw and a massive crate (DARK Level 2 Psychic/Flip 700/0).

“By discarding my Belle Bell, I can negate the destruction of one card on my field, then return a Spell from my grave to my Deck, and I choose Is this one Yours?!” The White magician found himself saved as a large golden bell encircled him, protecting him as the machine wailed uselessly against the metal. “And since you flipped up my White Hat & Vanishing Box, I can perform a Synchro Summon using facedown monsters I control as materials! So I’ll tune my Level 2 Vanishing Box to my two Level 2 Black Rabbits!” The box opened up to a cloud of smoke, transforming it and its handler into green rings of light. The identical rabbit-wielding illusionists leapt into the air, transforming as they passed through the rings into four spheres of light. “The stage has been set, and the curtains are drawn, so let’s give these good folks a show they’ll never forget: Synchro Summon! Enter, Stage right, my Level 6 White Hat & Floating Sword!” A ray of light fired into the rings, engulfing everything. When the light faded, there stood a white-dressed magician with his arms crossed, and a plain-looking sword floating around him (DARK Level 6 Psychic Synchro/Flip 2200/0).

Yuda stepped back as Bruno continued his monologue. “Ah, but what would a sword be were it never to be used? Nothing but a stage prop! I discard my Curtain Cretin to flip him Face-Down!” A black curtain swept in and covered the magician. When it pulled away, all that was left was a hologram of a card.

“Well, it looks like my turn is through.”

“Then I’ll draw!”


 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 2 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 2 cards

 

“I’ll first Flip Summon my White Hat & Floating Sword, and its Flip Effect destroys one card you control, so say farewell to your Clockwork Wizard!” As the card flipped, the magician snapped his fingers, sending his sword barreling directly through the wizard, breaking the Pendulum Scale and removing the Pocket Watch. “Now then, with his other effect, my Floating sword Sets himself, and I get to add White Hat & Invisible Wall to my Hand!” Bruno set two card in his back row, and one monster on the field. “Have fun, Yuda!”

Yuda rested his hand on his deck and closed his eyes. “There’s always a way through. Even if it isn’t clear yet, the path to a Shining World is always there.” He ripped the top card off his Deck and began his play. “All we have to do is take the first step!”



 

“GRAH! Come on Yuda!” Garth shouted from his seat. “If you lose here, I’m gonna look like a chump!”

Delphine pulled Garth back into his seat. “Down, boy.” She noticed that Midori was no longer twirling her hair. In fact, she was smiling with a sparkle in her eye Delphine had never seen before. “See something?”

Midori just kept her eye on the duel as she answered. “I see that look in his eyes.”

Garth leaned over. “What look?”

“Confidence.” Midori stood up to cheer. “He’s figured out how to win! Go Yuda!”


 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 4000 0 cards

Yuda Hirose: 4000 3 cards

 

“First, I set the Pendulum Scale with my Scale 2 Clockwork Wyvern!” As the wyvern rose up once again into the pillar of blue light, the pocket watch appeared from the aether once more, swinging in a wide arc as the portal began to form. “Now, one last time! Flow, sands of Time. Turn, wheel of fate. Let loose the power within to unleash the cogs of Destiny! Pendulum Summon! Return once again, Clockwork Machinist and Clockwork Sniper, and with them, the Level 3 Time-Eyes Sleeper!” The familiar droid (EARTH Level 3 Machine/Pendulum 6/6 1200/900) and sniper (EARTH Level 5 Machine/Pendulum 2/2 2000/1600) arrived through the portal, joined by the monster Yuda had just drawn, a red-skinned girl dressed in that same black tuxedo that all the Time-Eyes seemed to wear (LIGHT Level 3 Fiend 200/1700). She gave a deep bow and opened her eyes, revealing windows to the dimension of sand and time, the same one that the duel inhabited.

Yuda raised up his hand and pointed at his wyvern. “Next, my Wyvern will destroy Clockwork Machinist in order to add Clockwork Heart from my Deck to my Hand!” The wyvern let loose a cloud of rust that demolished the machine, and Yuda took the card his Duel Disk ejected for him. “Then with the Equip Spell card Tick On, I can Special Summon Machinist from my Extra Deck!” The small robot reappeared once again.

“Next, I offer Clockwork Sniper as Tribute to Tribute Summon Clockwork Heart!” Yuda’s sniper vanished in a beam of light, to be replaced by a mechanical window in the shape of a heart, revealing behind it a dimension of turning cogs and swirling sand (EARTH Level 5 Machine Pendulum/Tuner 1/1 1500/500).

Bruno stepped back in awe. “Wait a minute, you have a tuner now? But that means...”

Yuda lifted his fist into the air. “Damn straight! I tune my Level 5 Clockwork Heart to my Level 3 Clockwork Machinist!” The window burst into five green rings of light and surrounded the small droid, which changed into three spheres of bright white light. A massive ray of light illuminated the field. “My tired mechanical heart will beat until this all disappears: Synchro Summon! Come forth, Level 8 Clockwork Bombardier!” As the light faded, the field was dominated by a massive warrior, carrying a thick shield in his left hand, and in his right a long barrel attached to a thick drum of ammunition closer in size to grenades than to bullets (EARTH Level 8 Machine Synchro 3000/2700).

“I activate my Facedown, Now You See Me…!” The facedown on his field fizzled with electricity. The red-skinned devil on Yuda’s Field began swinging her forked tail in front of her, sending out a spiraling wave which kept the facedown from flipping up. “What gives?”

Yuda explained. “During the turn she’s Pendulum Summoned, neither of us can activate the effects of Set cards.” He pointed his finger at his opponent. “And since you control no face-up monsters, monsters I control can attack directly! Go Bombardier!” The soldier knelt down and fired a slew of metal slugs at Bruno’s feet, knocking him into the air. “And since Bombardier has successfully attacked you, you take damage equal to the combined attack strength of the non-tuners I used to summon him, and that’s my Machinist’s twelve-hundred!”

Bruno shielded himself with his arms as the massive warrior launched a blast of flame across the field, taking away the last of his Life Points.

 

DUEL

Bruno Giordano: 0

Yuda Hirose: 4000

 

Yuda Hirose Wins!

 

Bruno stood up and dusted himself off as the Solid Vision vanished from sight, and without a word, he held out his hand for Yuda to shake amid the roars of the crowd.

“Maybe next time, Bruno.”

“Heh, yeah why not? You sure put on a good show!”

 

Above the stadium, Kingston watched from his private viewing room as Yuda defeated his opponent. “Curious, so even Synchro Summoning is in your arsenal?” His phone on the table buzzed. “KC SECURITY”

He answered the phone with a terse “What?”

“We’ve detected a surge of Synchro Energy in the Industrial District, as well as an energy signature similar to the one the Masquerade uses to teleport.”

“Interesting,” The CEO stood up and began to impatiently pace the room. “What have you found?”

“It doesn’t look like Masquerade activity, it’s a girl on a Duel Runner.”



 

Across the highway, weaving dangerously through traffic, a black and gold motorcycle barreled down the road at top speed. Its rider was a girl wearing a white tank top, jeans  and a leather jacket. Her head was obscured by a black helmet. The Duel-Screen on her dashboard lit up with a picture of what looked to be a much older version of Yuda. She spoke to herself. “I’m comin’ for you.”

 

Next Time: Yuda finds himself beset by one of Kingston’s STARs Hunters, while his father is paid a visit by his older sister. What is happening in Ocean City, and how are the STARs connected?

Come back next time for Chapter 12: Deadly Race! Yuda vs Slayer

 

 

 

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I'm gonna have to agree with OP here. I'd like to see more of Delphine, as ever since chapter 3 she hasn't a second duel, and like OP said her deck is an interesting one.

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